September 5, 2017: Campaign Statement on DACA Repeal

I stand with DACA recipients today, tomorrow and forever because I can relate to the experience of leaving a familiar country and culture behind to live in a new place because parents believed that our family would have better opportunities elsewhere.

I remember well the challenges that I experienced when I emigrated to the United States as a nine year old child. I particularly remember how difficult the initial transition was. I didn’t fit in, I spoke Caribbean English with a thick Spanish accent, I did not feel accepted or welcomed by my peers. It was a tough time in my life.

Once I felt comfortable and established however, the U.S. became my new home and I thrived in the environment. I love Panama, I continue to practice many Panamanian traditions, and I wish that I could visit more often. That said, I was educated here in the States. I have taken my right to participate in the political process since I could first vote, very seriously. I am a proud dues paying union member. I own a home, and I have owned a business here. My family is here – my family of origin, the family I have created with my wife, our Son, our daughter-in-law and grandchildren.

I realize that the DACA students may not have established families, businesses or purchased homes yet. They do, however, make a significant financial contribution to our economy by paying taxes, social security and the fees associated with reapplying to the program every two years for the past 10 years.

In Solidarity, 

Jovanka Beckles