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On Monday, April 18, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument on President Obama’s deferred action initiatives, DAPA and expanded DACA. In response, Rio Grande Valley families and advocates with the RGV Equal Voice Network gathered at the McAllen Federal Courthouse at Bentsen Tower to show our support for the president’s immigration executive actions.

At its core, DAPA is about keeping families together. 89% of those eligible for the program are parents of American citizens. That’s why RGV families shared their stories Monday on why they need DAPA.

LUPE member Josué Aldape shared with The Monitor:

“I am here today to fight for our rights and for our family,” said Aldape, who was born in the United States, but whose parents and older sister are undocumented. The soft-spoken middle school student lives with his brothers and sisters in Weslaco but has never traveled past the U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint about 60 miles north near Falfurrias.

“We can never travel up there. We can never see the outer world. We have to stay in this cage,” Aldape said. “If this passes, the first thing I would like to do is travel to other states with my family.”

Another LUPE member, Roberta Tello, shared with The Monitor her family’s struggle to stay close despite an immigration checkpoint dividing her and her children from her husband.

For Roberta Tello, of San Juan, DAPA is about keeping her family together. The 32-year-old mother of five is undocumented, but all her children were born here. She came to the United States 15 years ago, fleeing the violence in her home state of Tamaulipas and married her husband who is a legal resident.

Tello and her husband would often work in the fields picking onions, cilantro and other crops, always struggling to make ends meat, she said. Two years ago her husband began looking for work outside of the Valley, where he’s found better paying jobs working in construction.

Tello was left on her own caring for their four children, the oldest 11 and the youngest 4 years old. She said her husband only visits on weekends when his job allows him to, which are few and far between.

“The kids don’t know, they don’t understand these laws and why we can’t pass to see their dad,” Tello said in Spanish during Monday’s rally led by La Unión del Pueblo Entero. “My youngest girl often cries and has even run down the street chasing the truck when he leaves for work. It’s been very hard for my family and I just wish I could also work and contribute more to my house and to this country.”

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CBS 4 News captured the emotional strain Roberto’s family has been under due to her lack of documents.

“My kids are always asking when they get out of school ‘Mommy, where’s dad? When is he coming home?'” Tello said, tears streaming down her face. “I want to be with my husband and my kids together so when my kids wake up every morning they see their dad.”

UTRGV TV’s Orlando Vargas spoke with LUPE’s Norma Aldape about why she and so many RGV families are waiting for DAPA. View that video on UTRGV TV’s Facebook page.

Our rally with the RGV Equal Voice Network also caught the attention of the Houston Chronicle and the Indian-American journal The Indian Express.

If you come across additional coverage of our McAllen rally Monday, email a link to the story to johnmichael@lupenet.org

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