Queer DACA Recipient Testifies Before House Judiciary Committee; Advocates for 36,000 LGBTQ DREAMers

On Wednesday, Yazmín Irazoqui-Ruiz - a queer recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program - spoke before the House Judiciary Committee to advocate for the importance and value of immigrants in America. This was the first time that Congress has addressed Trump's proposal to terminate DACA, which was created by the Obama Administration in 2012.

As one of the nearly 700,000 active recipients of DACA, Irazoqui-Ruiz is a third year medical student studying obstetrics at the University of New Mexico. However, based on Trump’s plan to terminate DACA, Irazoqui-Ruiz expressed in her testimony that she faces “the reality of [her] future as a physician being pulled out from under [her].”

As a volunteer for both the United We Dream and the New Mexico Dream Team, Irazoqui-Ruiz has worked to help immigrants cross the border. Additionally, she has witnessed the devastating living conditions in Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention centers, which she testified “shakes [her] to [her] core”. The Advocate reports that the New Mexico Dream team has specifically investigated mistreatment of trans women and queer men who reported being abused by guards.

In her testimony, Irazoqui-Ruiz not only outlined her own experiences, but also highlighted the dangers facing LGBTQ DACA recipients. According to the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, Irazoqui-Ruiz represents one of approximately 36,000 LGBTQ undocumented immigrants that DACA prevents from being deported.

In response to the discourse surrounding the continuation of DACA in exchange for more vigorous deportation standards, Irazoqui-Ruiz argued that “protecting me in exchange for increased danger for my community is no protection at all.”

You can watch Yazmín Irazoqui-Ruiz’s testimony here.