ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Congressman Charlie Crist met with Dreamers Friday afternoon to talk about creating a pathway to citizenship.

Dreamer Miriam Martinez came to the U.S. when she was five. 

Martinez said it’s a stressful time for undocumented immigrants being in limbo, without a next step.

“We are not Mexican enough to live in Mexico and we are not American enough to live in America,” Martinez said. “You feel lost in a way. When people tell you to ‘go back to your country’ but you try to explain to them that your country and your home is here.”

As Martinez got older she said Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) passing was a lifesaver and allowed her to go to college and buy a house for her parents. 

But there are limits.

“I wasn’t able to travel and when my brother died I couldn’t fly to bury him. When my grandpa died I also couldn’t go bury him either,” Martinez said.

She said many of her undocumented peers feel a lot of stress created by the narrative that it’s shameful to be undocumented.

“The media pushes that a lot. That we are bad people but everyone I know is good,” Martinez said.

She’s been working for years to make the change and become a citizen. In her meeting Friday with Congressman Crist she asked what they can do to get more support for the Dream Promise Act. That bill passed the House and now on its way to the Senate. It would create a pathway to citizenship for those who came to the U.S. no later than the age of eight and have lived here most of their life and to immigrants with temporary humanitarians’ protections. 

Congressman Crist said the best thing they can do is to continue to voice their support to members of Congress.

“We want to prove to everybody that we are good and we are not all the same. There’s always that rotten apple they paint in the media and say everyone else is like that but that’s not accurate at all. Many of us have made it very far and every time I see someone make it I say ‘we are all there with you,’” Martinez said.

Up to 2.5 million immigrants could be eligible for protection under the Dream and Promise Act. Congressman Crist said they do not have a date set for when the Senate will vote on this bill.

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