Dreamer Story 3

My name is _____. I am 29 years old and I was born in Nogales, Mexico, and I have lived in the United States as an undocumented immigrant for 27 years. Throughout my childhood I knew my mom and I were different. As a child I did not fully understand all the repercussions that came along with bearing the status of “illegal” in this country, but I did know my mother and I had to be careful. I understood it was something I could not share with just anyone. Now as an adult, I experience firsthand all the restrictions, prejudice, and fear illegal immigrants — such as my mother — have to live with.

Since childhood I have always wanted to make a tangible difference in the world. Growing up in adversity inspired me to obtain a college degree—I wanted to become someone who could right the wrongs experienced by those living in poverty. However, college resources are limited and highly competitive for undocumented students. Still, in 2012, I earned a full-tuition scholarship for undocumented students to Fresno Pacific University, where I graduated with a BA. Even though resources for graduate school are far less available for undocumented students, earning a Bachelor's degree filled me with a desire to go further with my education. Seeing a Master’s degree as a possibility led me to join AmeriCorps as a way to earn the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award, a $5,815.00 post-service benefit made available to all AmeriCorps members, which is matched by numerous higher education institutions. However, after beginning my service, I was told I am ineligible as a non-citizen and did not qualify for the award, even though I am an AmeriCorps member. This setback is a poignant reminder that while Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals had opened many new doors, it still was not enough.

In 2018 I was awarded a Trinity Fellowship at Marquette University where I will graduate with my MBA in the Spring of 2020. I am thankful for programs like Trinity Fellows at Marquette University. With a Master’s degree nearly in hand, I have my eyes set on a Public Policy PhD. My dream is to create economic opportunities for marginalized youth to pursue higher education. I have a special interest in working with undocumented populations. It is my mission to address policies that continue to marginalize societies most vulnerable as a result of legislation that continues to push these individuals further into dependency, poverty, and entrapment.

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