When someone’s work and excellence shines through, prejudice simply has no place. That’s the case with Pedro Villalobos, a 28-year-old born in Cuernavaca, Mexico, who was brought to the country when he was just three years old by his parents.
After managing to cross the border without documents, his parents went to work washing dishes and waiting tables to give their children the best possible future, according to the story published by the Texas Monthly.
For Pedro, it was the opportunity to attend a private school, and thanks to his dedication he could be accepted into the University of Texas at Austin, study politics, and volunteer on Democratic campaigns.
Thanks to the passage of the Deferred Action for Children (DACA) program, he was able to enter UT law school and graduate with honors. He got a job in the county attorney’s office, and he climbed up the ladder to the family violence section.
His work and professional training grew with the experience, learning the art of public speaking day by day, becoming an excellent communicator and educator on issues such as cycles of violence, and power and control dynamics, the media explains. “In his three years, he went before juries thirty times, and won all but three cases,” the report continues.
It was there that he got “a real sense of purpose in defending victims and in keeping the community safe.”
Under the tutelage of county attorney Escamilla, Pedro went on to lead trial teams and collect data on how the system was working. But life had another opportunity for him to grow: A position in the district attorney’s office opened up and the young man didn’t think twice about it.
It was his profile, training, and commitment to the work that got him the job, and his immigration status was not mentioned in the interview. However, thanks to the political circumstances in the country, this could be a long-term setback.
Since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the immigrant community in the country has been the focus of presidential political verbiage and aggressive policies against open borders. DACA, of course, has also been a victim of all this.
The program has not been popular with conservative groups and Republican representatives in the country, and after President Obama announced his intentions to expand protection to other undocumented immigrants, a handful of states introduced a national lawsuit that eventually reached the Supreme Court.
Under the Trump administration, the Department of Homeland Security rescinded the expansion, and in September 2017 the president announced his plans to eliminate the program entirely unless Congress succeeded in passing the DREAMAct or “fixing” the statutes.
In the face of Congress’ failure to reach an agreement, DACA was in danger of disappearing, but several federal courts intervened to take the arguments to the Supreme Court, which must make a decision in the coming months.
About 800,000 undocumented immigrants, who arrived in the country as children, had the opportunity to live fully in the only country they have called home thanks to this program.
All of them, like Pedro, don’t see themselves as anything other than Americans. “I was educated in Texas schools, went to UT, graduated with honors from law school, now I’m prosecuting felonies,” he told the Texas Monthly, “If you don’t understand that there are people like me in all aspects of life who were brought to the U.S. very young and are now trying to make a life for themselves, I don’t know how I can convince you.”