SIU student produces DACA documentary ‘I Too Dream American’

CARBONDALE, IL – Living undocumented and unafraid to share their stories —That’s what some DACA students say they are doing at a local university.

A Southern Illinois University student produced a documentary to illustrate the struggles that DACA students face.

SIU has 26 DACA students who are doing the best they can to live a normal life, while anxiously awaiting some kind of immigration reform. Tomas Cortez is Mexican American, and he is friends with some of those students. He made a documentary to share their struggle.

“There are a lot of people who aren’t educated on the DACA policy,” said Cortez.

His documentary, “I Too Dream American,” follows two DACA students who are living life undocumented, showing the human side of the issue.

“It really impacted me seeing the pressure they’re going through and how much negativity that they’re getting in the public eye. It really made it important for me to show their voice to the world,” said Cortez.

Martha Osornio is a DACA student who was born in Mexico. She did some behind-the-scenes consulting for the film.  She was brought to America when she was a baby. Her mother carried her the entire way. She worries daily about the future.

“I could call home, and my mom could be gone the next day,” said Osornio.

But, she is proud of her story and who she is. She hopes the documentary will inspire others.

“I’m not afraid to go and talk about who I am and what my identity is about. I think this country is based on immigrants,” said Osornio.

The title of the documentary perfectly sums up the feelings of the DACA students at SIU “I also have dreams, like all the people in America,” said Osornio.

“America started off as a nation of immigrants. Now, it has become the nation of selected few immigrants,” said Cortez.

The DACA students plan to keep the conversation going by continuing to reach out to representatives. There was a screening of the documentary at the Epiphany Lutheran Church in Carbondale at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

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