COVID-19 Adds Anxiety for Immigrants With Already Uncertain Futures

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- COVID-19 Adds Anxiety for Immigrants With Already Uncertain Futures
Marissa Molina, Colorado immigration director for the advocacy group FWD.us, at home. Photo taken by Brad Goodall, provided by Marissa Molina

In the era of COVID-19, DACA recipient Marissa Molina must manage even more fear about what tomorrow holds.

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Marissa Molina awakens at 7:42 a.m. on her 41st day sequestered at home as she does many mornings now—panicked. It is the isolation. Her construction worker dad’s furlough. Her house-cleaner mom with no houses to clean. It is waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether she and immigrants like her, children when they arrived here, will remain protected from deportation.

The panic ebbs quickly. The night before she and her boyfriend celebrated her 28th birthday in their Denver apartment with no-contact flower and cupcake deliveries and a FaceTime family serenade in English and Spanish. Her dad played guitar. Gratitude propels her from bed.

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“Feeling determined to make today another good day,” she says, readying her first call.

Then hours of Zoom calls, all shot through with worry. About immigrants and refugees not being able to access unemployment insurance. About immigrant students at Metropolitan State University, where Molina is a trustee. Students are anxious, staff tell her. Some now have parents out of work. Some are sharing one computer with the family.

The midday calls ramp up her anxiety. Molina is the Colorado immigration director for FWD.us, an advocacy group now preparing its response to the court decision, expected soon, about the fate of the DACA program shielding her and 650,000 others from deportation and allowing them to work in this country.

“I want to be a great leader and a great supporter to people and preparing for that is really hard right now,” she says, fighting tears.

After she hangs up, she posts a video on Twitter she’d recorded on her birthday in her kitchen. “Dear American citizens,” she begins. “I know that feeling of anxiety, and even of anger, knowing that no matter what you do, ultimately you don’t get to control what happens to you. I know that feeling of fear when you think about the future.

“But what these years have also taught me is that it is so important to be grateful for those moments of joy and levity. It has taught me that we have to really take in the moment today, because that is the only day that is guaranteed to us. And it has also taught me to look at tomorrow with courage because even though I may not know what tomorrow may hold, I know I am strong enough to get through it.” —Tina Griego / The Colorado Independent


This story is powered by COLab, the Colorado News Collaborative. 5280 joined this historic collaboration with more than 20 other newsrooms across Colorado to better serve the public.

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