This is a series created and published by Generation Progress to highlight the young and diverse individuals who are dedicated to fighting for the rights and safety of immigrant communities throughout the U.S. and to share their perspectives on ways in which young people can be powerful forces for change. The opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interview subjects. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Generation Progress.

Born in Michoacán, Mexico, Sandra Esther Avalos Ortega came to the U.S. in 1996 at a young age. Even before she received protections through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals* (DACA) program, Sandra dedicated herself to empowering disadvantaged youth in her home city of Dallas, Texas.

She entered the advocacy space to fight for the rights and safety of immigrant families like hers and to ensure that all people in the Lone Star State can live long, happy, and prosperous lives.

In border states like Texas, immigrants and their families are often the backbones of their communities, but they are frequently the targets of persecution by local politicians and police, making them feel unsafe. In response to this maltreatment, young immigrants and allies have formed local networks to defend immigrants’ rights, meet the needs of their own communities, and join together against attacks on their well-being.

In that spirit, Sandra joined a group of young immigrant activists in the Dallas area known as the North Texas Dream Team*. Today, as the group’s vice president, Sandra is helping lead their efforts to empower immigrant communities in the north Texas area—providing legal defense and financial assistance to those in need and holding state and local leaders accountable through mass mobilization.

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