Art show to defend DACA program held by local 'dreamer'


A local graphic designer and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient made a big statement Friday night through his artwork.

Heldáy de la Cruz hosted a show at Ecotrust in Portland. It was his plea for Congress to save the DACA program.

It was a sold-out event and hundreds of people filled the event space, many of them DACA recipients themselves. They’re in support of de la Cruz’s ultimate goal: to revisit and pass the DREAM act.

“It’s kind of hard to believe that it’s happening right now. Everything was last minute,” said de la Cruz.

He’s been working on the art show since September 5 - the day DACA was rescinded.

“When things like this happen, people get really fired up and then they lose momentum. So I wanted to do it months later when we’re still waiting from Congress, to sort of keep the fire going,” said de la Cruz.

In September, it appeared an immigration plan had been worked out. But President Trump said no deal was made, and a wall would still be built.

"We're not looking at citizenship or amnesty. We're looking at allowing people to stay here. Ultimately, we have to have the wall. If we don't have the wall, we're doing nothing,” the President said a few months ago.

Nearly 800,000 dreamers are still waiting to see if the President will resolve the issue by the end of the year.

Amanda Oborne, who works with de la Cruz, became choked up as she spoke about her coworker’s artwork.

“These are real people, you know. They’ve grown up here. They don’t know any other place. They’re part of the fabric of our community, and the idea that we’d just ship them to someplace they’ve never known seems so crazy,” she said.

As for a plan ‘B’ if DACA isn’t saved? De la Cruz says, “I don’t have a plan. I’m gonna continue doing things like this and advocating for people like myself.”

The show has raised more than $7,500 so far, and the proceeds will be donated to national and local organizations in support of immigrant rights.

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