Through various trials and obstacles faced by undocumented youth around the country, the hope that an answer to their distress will be answered still remains in the DREAM Act. Here are the stories of this generation. (I do not claim ownership of the media used in this page)
“As a Conservative organization, we believe the DREAM Act does not grant young people any entitlements, but rather an earned legalization through hard work, discipline, and dedication to our Great Nation. It would give a group of people who speak English well and who have completed high school, a chance to join our Armed Forces or pursue higher learning. Joining the military as a prerequisite for earned legalization is an intimate and fulfilling experience with regard to developing a strong American identity and love for our country. Higher education is another prerequisite for the Dream Act, and conservatives should promote this kind of legislation because higher education would allow this group to support themselves in the labor market.”
Founder, Somos Republicans
I have been a DREAMer since 2000, ever since the age of nine. Coming here to the United States was a confusing to me, considering that we didn’t have no family here. I did not understand why we moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. We did not, and up to this point, we have no family. And, of course, as children, our parents did not explain their problems to us because we could not reason.
My father lived in Las Vegas, Nevada, for four years before my family and I actually came to the states. He left us in Bolivia; me, the age of four, a brother of the age of seven, and a loving mother. Throughout those four years, I did not know I had a father until he visited Bolivia when I was four years old. He stayed for a year to convince my mother to go to the United States, so that as a family, we could live the “American Dream.” Bolivia does not offer a stable educational future for the youth of the country. Regular school days were cancelled due to revolutionary riots, and it is just a dangerous place to live in. Robberies are frequent, as well as rape and kidnapping. Now that I am older, I understand the reasons why we left our country.
Assimilating to this country was a struggle. The first two years were rough without the rest of our family, and also, settling down was a harsh experience. Going to school was a challenge for foreign students due to the new language and the American cultural differences. I did not mind learning the language because I like to learn. My family and I were successful; mom had a job as a cosmetologist/hair designer, dad opened his own mechanic business, my brother graduated high school, and I was still in school getting straight A’s, aiming for an Honors Diploma…life was good!
My parents were working on getting our residency. Unfortunately, the lawyer that my father was working with was fraud and mishandled paperwork for us and other families across the states. I was about 14 years old and was still clueless in regards to our immigrations status.
After we found out about our mishandled paperwork, my father moved us to different house (I have moved about 7 times) because my parents were scared of getting separated and they also wanted to protect us from ICE.
In 2009, just after Christmas, my father was suprisingly deported. That day seemed like a horrible dream to my family and I; everything seemed so unreal. He had left his business open and we had only one day to move all his mechanic tools out of the property. The owner warned us that he would close it at 9 p.m., and whatever was left in there would belong to him. Those tools were, heavy and enormous, were difficult to move (we moved tool boxes, lifters, and cars). I will never forget this feeling of being alone, everything in my life changed after my father’s deportation.
That same year I was graduating high school with an Honors Diploma, three accomplishments (math, graphic design, and Spanish ), Millennium Scholarship, and dressed in white ( in Nevada it means you had your GPA 3.5 and higher). It was very sad for me not having my father present in my graduation. Only my mom showed up because she was the only one left to support me. Graduation day was supposed to be special to me. I always dreamed of seeing my parents proud of their daughter’s accomplishments. On that moment, I realized that I was a student with no rights and had many limits in my life (working, driving, applying to scholarships all required residency or citizenship). I almost thought I could not go to college. I had to set myself limits in life; however, I did not give up on my education.
Education is important in life and something I can take my knowledge anywhere!
Unfortunately in 2011, my brother was deported, leaving his two little girls and wife. Until this day, Marinita (the oldest daughter) remembers her dad being taken away by ‘cops’ and often asks, “where is my dad?” With all these unfortunate experiences, my mom and I are scared to be next.
I am attending college majoring in Graphic Design. Design is something I like, though I am not passionate of. I am afraid of being deported without finishing my education, therefore I chose this major because I would rather leave with one degree than nothing. My passion is to find a cure for aids, cancer, and other diseases. I have been going to college every semester, including summer semesters, because I feel rushed against ICE’s unexpected ambushes. In three months, I am graduating with a Graphic Design emphasis Associate’s degree. If it were for me, I would take my time in my classes, and major in something I have passion for. Supporting the DREAM ACT will help me and all of the undocumented students fulfill their education goals.
The DREAM Act will help me, as well as numerous students that share my predicament, to fulfill our educational goals and achieve our dreams in a land that we have called home for several years.
My parents brought me to the United States when I was 3 years old. I did not realize how different my life was going to be as opposed to my friends, who are all “legal” in this country, until I was 18.
It was horrible for me to realize that I was not going to a university because I did not have the money to do so. I was devastated. Since 2008, after my high school graduation, it has been very difficult for me to live a “normal” life. It has been hard for me to acquire a good job where I can get treated fairly and respected as I deserve to be. I have a lot of potential and can achieve farther in life than just settling as a busgirl.
It is tough to pursue what I really want in life.
My only hope is the DREAM Act.
I am currently working towards my Associates of Arts degree in Business Administration. As soon as I finish this, I will be transferring to obtain my Bachelors degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources Management. I want to be a Human Resource manager. Luckily, I have been able to go to school because I am an AB-540 student. Otherwise, it would have been almost impossible for me to go to school. My citizenship status is holding me back enormously. All of my hopes and dreams have been put on hold indefinitely, and right now, I am just frustrated. I do not know what I am going to do. I cannot live like this my whole life.
Something must be done.
The DREAM Act must be passed.
There are so many young and talented people living with the same limitation as me, and these lives are being wasted because of their citizenship. I want to have a career, own a house, own a car, etc…but I cannot.
I was born in Mexico, but was raised in Minnesota. I have lived in the U.S since I can remember. My parents brought me here when I was one. I have always known of my situation but I never thought it would stop my whole life. I didn’t realize how hard and frustrating it is being an undocumented student until I got to high school. I went to WHS; it’s one of the top schools in Minnesota. I loved it.
I was a cheerleader and was in advanced placement classes. As I got to my sophomore year I realized I couldn’t drive and couldn’t take driver’s ed. Then it was my senior year, where you’re so supposed to have fun, go out and celebrate the last year of high school.
Well mine was not like that.
For spring break, my friends wanted to go down to Mexico. I did not have the heart to tell my friend the real reason I could not go to this trip, so I had to lie and say I did not have the money. However, she offered to pay for all the expenses. I would try to ignore the trip until one day she started crying and asked why I didn’t want to go. She had thought she did something wrong. I started crying and began shouting. I told her I want to go. If I was not in the situation I’m currently in, I would go every year. She didn’t understand until I finally told her I couldn’t because because of my status. She cried with me.
Until this day, she has been my best friend. Even though I couldn’t go to Mexico, I was still able to enjoy this spring break. She stayed behind with me, and instead of going to Mexico, we went to Texas. As my high school career went on, I also spent my senior year hosting falling tears of anger down my cheeks. It was time to apply to colleges. I applied to all the ones I wanted to go to; though I got in all three, as the year went on, I realized I couldn’t afford any of them. My parents couldn’t come up with $14,000 for a semester. It was heartbreaking not being able to go. I am now attending a community college where I am almost done with my Associates of Arts degree. Now, as I go on, I realize that I would never be able to go to Hamline Law School. It’s too expensive, so I must settle for going to a small school in Minnesota that is at least somewhat financially manageable. It’s really hard to realize that you could never go to your dream school because you can’t get financial aid or grants. I know for a fact that I can get in, but I just can’t pay for it. Sadly, my story ends with a sad ending; though it’s not just a story but a reality.
I am a sixty-one year old teacher. I have taught for over 38 years. My teaching experience includes working with GATE students, resource students, high maintenance kids and the children of my heart, EL students and newcomers. Over the years, I have seen students arrive in my classroom coming from all walks of life. I have seen the refugee students arrive with their I-94’s in hand. They have traveled the world and seen horrendous atrocities prior to arriving in America. Although terrorized at first, they eventually learn to value America and all of the wonderful things about it. They take their place in our society. Many have won scholarships, have completed their universities degrees and are working and giving back to a country that took them in. I am pleased that they have transitioned and have become the new Americans.
I have also had newly immigrated students from other countries who came in undocumented. They were minors when they arrived and somehow our society and our government choose to punish minors for crimes which their parents committed. I have had students arrive, equally as terrorized as the refugee students. They have faced the same turmoil and tumultuous paths to arrive in America. Some have seen their parents have to swim across a river to get into America. Some have seen the coyotes take their money and leave them stranded. Some have seen atrocities along the way. When one is a minor, these events leave lasting memories. These kids work equally as hard as the other “refugee” students. They make fabulous grades in high school, they take pride in their education, and they move on to the university, originally having to pay out-of-state tuition because they did not have the proper documentation. They work hard to take their place in America. They excel, and yet the laws of America, established by ignorant Congressional leaders, punish minors who had no choice in decisions made by their parents. They strive for excellence, they receive their degrees from the universities with honors; however, unlike my other students, they are not given their chance to give back to our society by paying taxes and stepping into the American dream because OUR COUNTRY is so ignorant that it chooses to enforce laws that are punitive. If any other country treated minors the way we are treating our undocumented students, America would be protesting over civil rights violations. Our attitude is almost the same as in 19th century England with debtors prison where everyone in the family was punished equally due to the decisions made by the parents. Everyone says, “Well, have these undocumented students retrace their steps and come into America the right way.” Whoever says that has no concept of the archaic laws of immigration and the dead ends that our country has placed in attempting to come into the country legally. They have no idea that nothing is set in place to help these students out. Many students know no other country than America because they came in at such an early age. Does a 3 year old have the ability to tell his/her parents, “Sorry, please do not take me to America. I will never be able to be legal if you do”? Nothing has been made easy to allow these students to take their place in our society and begin paying taxes because everyone lacks knowledge of the lack of ethical laws in place. And, of course, no politician is going to make waves because he/she does not have the intestinal fortitude to withstand the ignorance of an unknowing population. SO my students continue to become the shadows of our country. They never are given the opportunity to be a part of this country because the laws of this country are so irrational. In Plato’s allegory of the cave there was mention of a mentor who would lead the ignorant out of their chained environment of the cave and allow them into the world of education and knowledge. There is no one leader in America who has the courage and strong conviction to help these students out.
I am sad for America because we are losing a viable resource in the workforce with these students. We are losing the best of the best minds because no one in America has the guts to own up that the laws are wrong.