Photo Journal: Not Just a Dreamer (The Torch)

Photo journal: Not just a Dreamer

THE TORCH: CONTENTSBy Brittany Aguilera and NILC staff
FEBRUARY 16, 2018

Brittany Aguilera lost her DACA on December 7, 2017. A trained photographer who lives in New York, Brittany documented her experiences through photos the day before and the day after her DACA expired. Her photo journal of those two days is accompanied by excerpts adapted from a speech she gave recently at a press conference in Washington, DC.


It’s Thursday morning.


At this hour, I should’ve been on my way to the local story time.


I should’ve been pushing a double stroller…


…while the twins sang out to everyone they passed in Brooklyn.


From walking, to even their first words, I have been there for it all.


I’ve had the luxury of watching the twins progress and gain individual personalities, which I’ve come to love as I would my own family members’. I’m about to lose a job with a great family who I care about deeply and who care about me in the same way.



My family as well as myself is affected by this decision, but we are forced to maintain a sense of hope because without it we don’t have much.


I’m in a constant exhaustion that I can’t shake off.


My message to those who are in this situation with me: Don’t lose hope. Make our voices heard.


My sister and I were always taught to never say we can’t do something. Our parents wanted us to believe that nothing was unattainable, and that anything was possible, if you worked hard for it. I’m aware that there are other families who are going through what me and my family are at this very moment. This is why I am here.


I’m not just a Dreamer. I’m a daughter, a sister, and an aunt to a beautiful nephew. I’m a body of untapped potential just waiting for a chance to release it.


Give me and others like myself the chance to shine — and the chance to dream the way that others do. Give us our smiles back, and our endless hope. Dreaming is not against any law, but what is truly against all laws is taking another’s opportunity to do so.

Brittany Aguilera is a caregiver, photographer, and DACA recipient from Queens, New York.

To learn more about what you can do to help people like Brittany, visit And you can do more: Call Congress at 1-478-488-8059 and insist that your senators and representatives support and vote for the bipartisan Dream Act now!

Watch Brittany’s speech (on NILC’s Facebook page).

Brittany Aguilera

Brittany Aguilera’s DACA expired last week. She sent in her renewal application in September, but it was rejected due to a clerical error. Listen to her moving testimony to lawmakers:

“I am a body of untapped potential just waiting for a chance to release it.”


Posted by National Immigration Law Center on Thursday, December 14, 2017


And read this article about Brittany in The New Yorker.