Ruben Mercado Santos realized he was “different” in high school.
When his friends were getting their driver’s licenses and registering to vote, he couldn’t. After living in South Florida since he was 5, the Honduras native began to realize what it meant to be an undocumented immigrant in the United States.
“There are times where you aren’t judged for your talents or abilities at first, instead you’re judged for your status,” the 22-year-old says. “You can’t control the challenges that come with your legal status, but you can try to find what opportunities are available to you.”
Finding a Way
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, an immigration policy that allows individuals who meet several key guidelines and were brought to the U.S. as children to avoid deportation, was created in 2012.
DACA students, — also known as DREAMers — like Mercado Santos, have no access to federal aid, limited access to state aid, and in some cases must pay out-of-state tuition for college. With the goal of becoming a physician one day, he knew that he had to find a way to pay for school without creating further financial burdens for his older sister and mother, who were already working hard to provide for his family.
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