Dreamers—a term derived from the DREAM Act, a bill that has been repeatedly introduced but never yet passed into law—are individuals brought into the U.S. as children and who are without legal status. Since 2012, roughly 800,000 Dreamers have qualified to receive work authorization and protections from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. As of September 2017, however, the DACA program is being terminated, such that hundreds of thousands of Dreamers will lose their jobs and become at risk of deportation in the near future unless Congress takes action.
While Dreamers are diverse in many ways—from various countries of birth, living in all fifty states, ranging in age from teenagers to mid-30s, and of different religions and ethnicities—most Dreamers (like most immigrants overall) identify as Christians. Many of us are active members of local churches, committed to following Jesus and seeking His Kingdom. Our primary identity is found in Christ.
Voices of Christian Dreamers is a grassroots, Dreamers-led movement committed to changing the conversation about undocumented immigrants in the Church and beyond, through highlighting biblical teaching, personal stories and other helpful resources.
Liz Dong, Wheaton, IL
Having been welcomed into the Church and introduced to Jesus as a young immigrant from China, Liz is passionate about seeing more churches welcoming the stranger in Christ’s name. Liz holds a BA from Northwestern University and is currently pursuing graduate studies at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She serves as the Midwest Mobilizer for the Evangelical Immigration Table and the Bibles, Badges and Business for Immigration Reform Coalition. Liz enjoys hiking, camping and just about anything outdoors.
Diana Giron, Cambridge, MA
At the age of six, Diana and her family immigrated to California from Mexico. They found a home in Los Angeles and also in local Hispanic Evangelical churches, where they encountered the love of God through the generous prayers and support from fellow believers. Diana solidified her faith in college and became a student leader for La Fe through her campus' Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. In pursuit of her academic dreams she attended Harvard Divinity School and completed her master's thesis entitled, "The Evangelical Divide Over Immigration: In search of Undocumented Christian Perspectives." She is currently an Administrative Fellow for Harvard College and is passionate about serving, mentoring, and advocating for the educational access and success of all undocumented students.
Adriana Mondragon, Santa Ana, CA
Adriana came to the US with her mother at the age of 5 and was introduced to Christ at the age of 12 through an after school tutoring program in her neighborhood. Adriana is working towards her Marriage and Family Therapist license and hopes to continue giving back to her community and beyond. Adriana is passionate about and committed to building God's Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven through social justice, racial reconciliation, and community service efforts in and beyond her community. Adriana enjoys devotionals, walking, nature, 1-1s over coffee, and serving her family, friends, and community as time allows.
Jose Ocampo, Wingate, NC
Jose came to the U.S. as a two-month-old and became a Christian as a teenager. He is currently attending Wingate University, majoring in Marketing and minoring in Accounting. He also serves as a youth director at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte. Feeling called to ministry, Jose plans to go to seminary after he graduates from college. He is also a huge Hornets and Panthers fan.
Ruth Velazquez, Chicago, IL
Ruth came to the U.S at the age of 13 and committed her life to Christ not too long after. Her experiences worshiping and serving in multicultural settings have given her a better understanding of God's love for the nations, which she hopes to share with others. Ruth is a first-generation college graduate of North Central College and works at World Relief, where she helps permanent residents (green card holders) navigate the U.S. citizenship process. In her free time, she enjoys being with family and friends and going salsa dancing.
Fia Vonjimalala, Moline, IL
Fia came to the U.S. from Madagascar when she was a teenager. Her heart for ministry led her to attend Moody Bible Institute, where she graduated with a Bachelor's in Communications. As the Director of Children's Ministries at YouthHope, Fia uses her own immigrant experience as a bridge to encourage, empower, and witness to the families she works with, most of whom are immigrants and refugees.
Hilario Yanez, Houston, TX
As a first-generation college graduate from the University of Houston, Hilario owes all his success to God. Despite him being an immigrant from Tampico, Mexico, becoming homeless at one point, and growing up in a rough neighborhood, God equipped him with hope, identity, and purpose to get pass his struggles. He is now using his faith to inspire others. Hilario currently works as a technology analyst for Accenture Consulting.
Ricardo Zamudio, Phoenix, AZ
Ricardo Zamudio came to the U.S. at the age of nine with his parents and two younger sisters. His journey to find his voice in this country has led him to civic engagement and immigration policy advocacy on a local and national level. Ricardo graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor's in Social work and a minor in Urban and Metropolitan studies. He is the Director of Neighborhood Ministries’ Social Justice Team.