For Immediate Release: May 14, 2020
Contact: Carli Kientzle at [email protected]
“Catalina” of Western Oregon University 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.
This week’s DREAMer is “Catalina” a Scholar of Western Oregon University:
I was only two when we came to the United States, but my older sisters have told me about our journey. My parents told us we had to split up, so my sisters went first and I followed. We reunited at my aunt’s house in Los Angeles. Growing up in America I never had any issues. My family and friends made the adjustment easy. In fourth grade, my parents explained our status to me. After that, I began noticing that I was ineligible for some opportunities. I couldn’t travel or apply for scholarships.
My parents never finished school – my dad only went up to fourth grade, and my mom to sixth grade. Two of my sisters are nurses. One is enrolled in a dental hygienist program, and my brother is about to start sixth grade. Last fall, thanks to DACA and TheDream.US, I started classes at Western Oregon University as a junior, after two years of community college. DACA gave me the opportunity to further my education, get a job, a driver’s license, and peace of mind.
I am really anxious about losing my DACA status not just because I would be separated from my friends and family. There is no reason to be skeptical about DACA – this program is a necessity. It only helps people – immigrant children – and doesn’t hurt anyone.
TheDream.US has provided over 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 the 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.
- Read through TheDream.US Scholar story-bank, featuring powerful personal reflections from Scholars about their lives, journeys, and future goals here
- Hear from two TheDream.US graduates, now working as a teacher and a nurse, discussing the impact of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program online here
- Watch a new video featuring TheDream.US college graduates online here