Undocumented Calif. Student: Will My Hard Work Lead to College?
For many undocumented youth in America, the hope of attaining a college education and contributing to the U.S. economy is embedded clearly in the DREAM Act, legislation that would create a pathway to citizenship for undocumented students and military members.
Several states have passed their own versions of DREAM Acts, many of which grant undocumented students in-state tuition and access to financial aid. Still, no clear and simple path to citizenship exists for these hard-working, dedicated young people, many of whom came to America when they were young.
One such student, an undocumented youth from California, writes in a piece for L.A. Youth and republished on the Huffington Post about the struggles of pursing an education:
I started realizing in middle school that being illegal meant you had to be careful or else you’ll get deported. The news would talk about ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raids at workplaces and how the undocumented workers were deported back to their home countries.
Also in middle school, my mom started talking to us about college. She always said that she would be the happiest mother in the world if she could see her children at a university like UCLA or Harvard, which were the schools she’d heard about. I really wanted to go to college because I knew it was important. My mother would say to my older sister and me, “Hopefully Congress will pass the Dream Act someday and you’ll be a citizen.” I didn’t understand what the Dream Act was, or that being a citizen helped you pay for college.
The writer, who is kept anonymous, is worried that “all my hard work might not lead to college.” Read the rest of the powerful piece at L.A. Youth.
Brian Stewart is the communications director at Generation Progress.