Not being able to leave the United States to run for the second medal in Guatemala history | Sports

In the same series that Moroccan-born Spaniard Mo Caterre won on Wednesday, Luis Grijalva made his debut at the Tokyo Olympics. In his first games, aged 22, he ran the 5,000m while allowing him to reach the final and potentially fight for the second medal in Guatemalan history, after the one won in London 2012 by Marcher Eric Barondo.

But to realize his dream, Grijalva had to overcome many obstacles. Months ago he earned a place in the Olympics with his efforts, but his immigrant status did not allow him to return to the United States if he left the country.

The Grijalva family immigrated to the United States in search of job opportunities 21 years ago, to me New York times, When the Olympic sprinter was only one year old,

He grew up and lived his entire life between New York and California, until he attended Northern Arizona University on a scholarship, something he was able to do thanks to the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program, which was approved by Barack Obama in 2012. DACA allows young people whose parents have brought them to the United States without papers, the possibility to continue their studies, as well as protection from deportation. However, one of the conditions of the DACA program is not to leave the country.

Olympic exception

“It’s official, I’m going to Tokyo. I wouldn’t have done this without the help of Jessica Smith Bobadilla (her lawyer), she is a wonderful person who does such wonderful things for immigrants like me. Thank you for letting me pursue my Olympic dream,” Grijalva wrote last Monday, 26 July, when he obtained a special permit to be able to compete in Tokyo and later return to his residence.

Grijalva, excited, appreciates the situation, realizing that despite winning his position, he could have been disqualified from the Games. “Only Monday they confirmed that I can travel to Japan. I risked not being able to enter the United States again to represent Guatemala here. I am excited to race in the Games and represent Guatemala, but also to leave the country and know I can come back without problems.”

DACA is in danger

The situation of Grijalva and more than 600,000 migrants under the DACA program is notably precarious. Former US President Donald Trump tried to end it, but a federal judge ordered him to return it with immediate effect. However, earlier in July, another judge ruled that DACA is not legal. It is expected that the government of US President Joe Biden will appeal the decision in favor of Luis Grijalva and the rest of the world. dreamers, also known as DACA youth.

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