Griesa Martinez Rosas arrived to the U.S. from Mexico when she was eight years old. She grew up in Dallas, Texas with her mom, dad and three younger sisters. From a young age, she was aware of her undocumented status and livid in fear something terrible would happen to her family.
Martinez Rosas lost her parents, who she calls the original "Dreamers." Her father was racially profiled by cops, pulled over, detained because he didn’t have a driver’s license and deported back to Mexico. “It's been 13 years since I’ve seen him,” she says.
Her mother lost her battle with cancer two years ago. “Because she was undocumented, the access to medical care to fight this awful disease of cancer were limited to her,” Martinez Rosas explains.
In 2012, when the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program was passed by the Obama administration, Martinez Rosas got the chance to obtain a work permit and was offered protection from deportation. That same year she joined "United We Dream," the largest immigrant youth-led group in the country.
She is now the executive director of the organization. “We are powered by young undocumented people,” Martinez Rosas says. “We are here to stay! And we are here to bring about a history that will truly astonish the world.”