I am a second year law student at The University of Texas School of Law and undocumented.
It is time to pass comprehensive immigration reform with an attainable path to citizenship because my parents have been waiting for 18 years for their permanent residency priority date to come up. On my 21st birthday, I "aged-out" of the application. As such, for me there is no certain future unless comprehensive immigration reform passes Congress. Even though I have received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), this is not a permanent solution.
My parents brought me to the United States at the age of three. I went to a good public elementary school in Houston,TX and then attended a college preparatory school middle and high school. In 2009, the adverse effects of a lack of residency status became tangible. Because I did not have a social security number I could not receive federal financial aid and I was barred from most scholarships and grants because they required citizenship or permanent residency. Even though I graduated third in my class, every day I went without receiving scholarships was another day that I thought I was not going to be able to attend college. Fortunately, my high school teachers and high school counselor helped me until I was able to find financial resources.
I started at the University of Texas at San Antonio, but I earned admission to the University of Texas at Austin and transferred at the end of my freshman year. After entering UT, I became involved in many organizations, eventually becoming Chief Justice of the Student Government Judicial Court, Co-Founder of the Texas Undergraduate Law Review, and Vice-President of University Democrats. I majored in Sport Management and had a double minor in Business and Government.
Last year, I became the first in my family to graduate from college with honors and became a first-year law student at one of the best school in the nation - The University of Texas School of Law (UT).
I am now committed to giving back to my community. To pay forward for all I have received from the community and from my parents.
Even though my family is undocumented, it is because of them that I am now a law student. My parents have been working two full time jobs since I have been in college in order to help pay for books, housing, and tuition. It is their sacrifices that have allowed me to have the opportunity to be successful. It is people like my parents that make up the undocumented community.
If you were to see me walking down the street, you would not know I was undocumented. My status and the status of many students all over this country do not define us. We work hard and focus every day so that our peers, mentors and superiors see me for what we are, hard workers who are tenacious in all of our ventures.