When Donald Trump and his administration threatened to overturn everything Baltimore, Maryland resident María Perales Sánchez has worked for by announcing the end of the popular and successful Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, she knew what she had to do. “I wanted to fight back,” she said.
The DACA recipient joined forces with her now-alma mater, Princeton University, to sue the administration over its wrongful termination of the program. That fight is now taking her to the Supreme Court, which will next week hear oral arguments around a consolidation of cases, including Perales Sánchez’s lawsuit, challenging the administration’s decision.
Undocumented immigrants and their families put everything on the line when they challenge and speak out against anti-immigrant policies, and for Perales Sánchez, publicly seeking court action meant great risk. But “after considering the potential risks to herself and her family,” Princeton spokesperson Ben Chang said, Perales Sánchez decide to sue in her own name rather than proceeding as a Jane Doe. Her “courage and commitment continue to shine forth to this day,” he said.
Perales Sánchez, The Baltimore Sun reported, “felt her leadership and voice were necessary in the legal battle.” With the future of hundreds of thousands of program recipients and their families at stake in this fight, she said she “wanted to stand with the migrant community, and this was a very particular opportunity. Not every campus was asking to take on a lawsuit. So, I knew I was at a particular place for a reason.”
Since graduating from Princeton last year, Perales Sánchez, who came to the U.S. from Mexico when she was 8 years old, has continued her good work, joining the Centro de Los Derechos del Migrante to advocate for the rights of migrant farm workers. “Perales Sánchez wants to get a law degree and continue to defend migrants’ rights,” The Baltimore Sun continued.
But before then, Perales Sánchez plans to be on the steps of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, where she will join a group of activists who have been marching more than 200 miles from New York City to Washington, D.C., in support of keeping DACA alive. “I don’t think I ever imagined I’d be inside the Supreme Court for a case—let alone for one that I brought forward,” she said—and she’s not stopping until families win justice. “I’m prepared to keep fighting,” she vowed.