Photo: Getty Images
by “Alicia Manzo”
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published in We’Ced Youth Magazine Issue #2
[dropcap]Do you ever[/dropcap] sit down and think about what you want to do with your life? I do. I imagine myself going to college and be- coming a nurse or even a doctor. I know my plan is good, yet there is a problem…I am undocumented!
I came into the US when I was about three years old. Throughout my years in elementary, I did very well and throughout middle school I did even better. I was always making my parents proud, and I graduated from the eighth grade with four educational awards and one sportsmanship award. Now I am a sophomore at Golden Valley High School and I am thinking about how I want my future to be. I want to go to college, but how will that help if I can’t work for that profession?
[pullquote_right]I came into the US when I was about three years old. Throughout my years in elementary, I did very well and throughout middle school I did even better. I was always making my parents proud, and I graduated from the eighth grade with four educational awards and one sportsmanship award.[/pullquote_right]
Thinking about that question really makes me disappointed because I dream farther everyday. This is just not my dream but a dream for many others as well. Ac- cording to crfforum.org, the web- site for the Constitutional Rights Foundation, about half a million undocumented people come to the US yearly, probably searching to make a better living. In fact right now there are about 12 million undocumented people in the US. You are probably thinking “Dang, that is a lot of people! No wonder there are no jobs!” But that is not true, in part because undocumented people are not able to legally work in the US, leaving them with little other options besides low-paying, possibly dangerous jobs.
Also most undocumented people come for a better future for their families. Undocumented children that come here for a better future have many difficulties; going to college is one. That’s why the Dream Act was passed in California. The California Dream Act is a law that was passed in 2012 which gives young undocumented people access to financial aid from the state to attend public universities and community colleges. This provides a chance for undocumented people to continue with school.
When I interviewed Kristen Jackson, a lawyer from Public Council in LA; I found out that there was also a Federal Dream Act. This law has not been passed even though it’s been put on hold for the past 10 years. The difference between the California act and the Federal act is that the Federal Dream Act will actually provide undocumented people a path to get their permanent residency, not just a path to going to college. Now the question is, will it ever be passed? We don’t know yet, but I still have hope.