For Immediate Release: November 14, 2019
Contact: Michael Earls at 202-494-8555 and [email protected]
“Juan” of Northern Virginia Community College is TheDream.US’ “DREAMer of the Week”
Washington, DC – TheDream.US, the nation’s largest college access and success program for undocumented immigrant youth, is continuing its “DREAMer of the Week” feature – a weekly profile of a TheDream.US Scholar whose story offers a powerful example of the incalculable contributions of DREAMers to America. TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college access and success program for immigrant youth, having provided 5,000 college scholarships to DREAMers at more than 70 partner colleges in 16 states and Washington, DC.
The Scholars’ stories are especially powerful and poignant following this week’s Supreme Court oral arguments on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an executive action, which provided temporary legal protection for undocumented youth, terminated by President Trump in September 2017. The legal limbo and uncertainty is affecting Scholars’ lives, health, and futures and threatens to keep Scholars from fulfilling their incredible potential.
As Virginia elected officials consider legislation to provide in-state tuition for undocumented students, “Juan’s” story reminds us of the stakes: thousands of DREAMers ready to thrive and contribute to the country, and states, they call home, if given the opportunity.
This week’s DREAMer is “Juan,” a freshman Scholar of Northern Virginia Community College:
Before receiving DACA, getting into colleges that I applied for meant nothing, because my family couldn’t afford for me to attend. I know my parents wished that they could provide for me to continue my education. While both of them completed only their primary school education, they still instilled the value of education in me and wanted more for my life.
Because of DACA, I was able to work a part-time job, provide for my family, and save up for college. Through TheDream.US, I can now fulfill my dream of a college education while still financially helping my parents. As I begin my freshman year at Northern Virginia Community College, I want to learn more about the laws and policies that are affecting other kids that are in the same shoes as me.
I, and many other DACA recipients live in constant fear of being deported back to unfamiliar countries, where we have little connection and face massive language barriers. We may be against a lot of people who want to see us fail, but I stay hopeful. Hopeful for the families who have been given so many opportunities through DACA and hopeful for my new beginning as I enter into my first year of university.
The first time I found out that I was undocumented was during a school meeting about a class trip to Rome. As my school presented the details regarding the trip, the first criteria was that it would only be available to students who are U.S. citizens. It was then that I realized the full weight of how my legal status.
I came to the United States when I was just seven years old to join my parents. They came two years before me and saved money to support me and my siblings. The two years without them were the loneliest years for me. The trek to the U.S. was necessary, but terrifying for two young kids traveling with complete strangers and going times without eating. The only thought we held onto was reuniting with our parents once again.
- Read through TheDream.US Scholar story-bank, featuring powerful personal reflections from Scholars about their lives, journeys, and future goals here
- Watch a new video featuring TheDream.US college graduates online here