KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The uncertain future for those protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, otherwise known as DACA, has thousands of men, women and children nervous. Metro business owner Zaid Consuegra is among them.
“My mother was the original DREAMer. She wanted something better for herself and my family,” Consuegra said.
Consuegra said he was nine years old when his mother moved him and his siblings from Mexico City to Johnson County. Twenty-two years later, Consuegra has earned two degrees, opened multiple businesses, including the coffee shop Pirate’s Bone on East 59th Street, but he said he still struggles to fit in.
“I went to elementary school, middle school and high school with some of these people. And to all of a sudden feel different and actually be differently breaks your heart,” he said.
Zaid is one of more than 10,000 DREAMers in the greater Kansas City area. Most, he said, are living in fear with their DACA status up in the air.
“We've heard that from some of the national affiliates that they are coming out with raids so people are in more fear now than probably before,” said Christina Jasso with the Guadalupe Center.
Jasso said her office has seen an influx of DACA applications in the last month. But she’s also seen an influx of people stepping up to help.
“There’s thousands of kids at the Capitol today and have been for the last two weeks. And out of their own money, going up there, just to say ‘Look, we’re DREAMers. We want to make a difference. We’re here to make a difference. We’re not doing anything wrong. Our parents brought us here. We had no choice. Let us pay the $495 every two years and let us have access to school. Let us pay for our school,’” she said.
“I've already planted roots. I'm a member of society. I create jobs for people. I just don`t know what else to do to convince people that I'm a benefit to this country, to this community,” Consuegra said.
It's a community Troy Alldaffer, a frequent patron at Consuegra’s shop, said has already embraced Consuegra and his business.
“He fits in so well. He's living the dream. He's created a successful business, and everyone that walks in here loves it when they leave because they become hooked from that first second,” Alldaffer said. “I wouldn't want to walk by here and find his business closed and find him not in our country.”
Consuegra said the country will benefit so much more with the full inclusion of DREAMers.
“Look at it in business sense. If we were able to push this and everyone was able to go into higher education or open businesses more easily, get loans, we would be creating a massive amount of cash flow for the U.S., and that's all we want. All we want is to succeed in life,” Consuegra said.