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Acceso Latino

Cristel Martínez, the dreamer who became an immigration attorney

At the age of nine, Cristel Martínez came to the United States, and from a very young age he faced a deportation case along with his brother. In those moments she decided that, if she stayed in the country, she would become a lawyer to help people like her brother and her.

Cristel Martínez was born in Honduras, and migrated to the United States at the age of nine. She is currently a recipient of Deferred Action (DACA), and professionally she obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the Western State College of Law in Irvine, California and works as an immigration attorney.

Martínez, recognized the limitations of programs like DACA: "There are millions of people who are undocumented, including people like me who have DACA, that there are many limitations in our cases."

He also explained that both DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) do not solve the underlying problem: “I think that TPS and DACA, as much as it helps, is more like 'a band-aid' to cover it up for a while and that doesn't takes the stress out of the fear of being deported or separated from your family "

For this reason, Martínez explains the importance of an immigration reform: "It is urgent that there be an immigration reform, and I believe that this urgency has been going on for years and decades and unfortunately for various reasons there has not been."

From her perspective as a migrant and also as an immigration attorney, Martínez pointed out that: "The ideal is for it to be permanent reform." She, in the same way, recognized the problems in other countries that lead to migration. "As an immigrant and as an immigration lawyer I see it every day in the work that I do, with the people who come and the families who are fleeing the countries for many reasons."

He also explained that the opportunities he reached in the United States would have been different if he had migrated to another country: “Sometimes people have the opportunity to emigrate to another country, but it does not compare with the opportunities they could have here. I think that, if I were undocumented in another like that, maybe I would never have been able to have the profession that I now have, and that is one of the reasons ”.

"We urgently need immigration reform," he concluded.

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