On Tuesday, President Trump rescinded a government program known as DACA — Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — that protected hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children. Sister Cecilia Marie Hellmann, ASC, who worked with immigrants as coordinator for the Diocese of Belleville, Ill., Office of Hispanic Ministry for 16 years, shares her thoughts.

By Sister Cecilia Marie Hellmann, ASC

On July 29, a young woman who has DACA status shared her story with more than 100 persons gathered at our center in Ruma, Ill., for an event called the “Heart Speaks to Heart.”

Nallely began in tears as she spoke of her mother who “held on to me” across a desert to give her a better life. She told of the many family sacrifices made and the fear and stress she had experienced until she found a reprieve from deportation and a two-year renewable work permit through the DACA program.

She spoke of continued worry about her October renewal date and what might happen if she lost her status. Nallely thanked those gathered for listening and understanding her heart.

Today, I sent an email to Nallely, assuring her that she is not forgotten by the Adorers and others who came to know her, that she remains in our hearts, and that we will do all in our power to urge the passage of the Dream Act so that she and the other hundreds of thousands like her in the United States may continue to hold on to their dreams.

“Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die

Life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly…”  Langston Hughes