Gaby Pacheco, an undocumented American, is an immigrant rights leader from Miami, Florida. She has been speaking about her lack of papers since high school. As one of the creators of the Florida-based, youth-led group, Students Working for Equal Rights, she began organizing when she realized she was just one of hundreds of undocumented students in her community. She was elected student government president at Miami Dade College, and later statewide student body president, raising the issue of in-state tuition for undocumented students throughout Florida, which led to political change and a climate of acceptance in many community and state colleges there.
In 2010, she and three friends walked 1,500 miles from Miami to Washington, DC, to bring to light the plight of immigrants in this country, and to urge President Obama to stop the separations of families and deportations of DREAM Act–eligible youth. This walk was dubbed the Trail of DREAMs.
As political director for the national youth group United We Dream, she spearheaded efforts that led President Obama to announce the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, one of the biggest changes in immigration since the 1986 Amnesty.
Gaby has three college degrees from Miami Dade College. She is in the process of publishing children’s books and aspires to be a musical therapist, working with students with mental disabilities.