For Immediate Release: February 20, 2020
Contact: Carli Kientzle at [email protected]
Efrain of University of Houston 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 Efrain, a Scholar of University of Houston:
My dad never attended high school. His dad left him and his mom was never there to assist them, because she was working all day to give them something to eat. My mom left school when she was in 12th grade for personal reasons. My dad has always worked in an auto body workshop, ever since he came to the US, and my mom is currently working at a hotel cleaning rooms. We are all immigrants, except for my sister, who was born here in Dallas, Texas. My brother finished high school and is now attending a community college. Thanks to TheDream.US scholarship, I will be attending college for free. I want to get my major in computer engineering and be able to get a good job, where I can get the house of my dreams and still help my parents financially. This is what I came for, I gave all these years to achieve this, it’s the most important thing for me right now.
For the first few years of my life, my dad wasn’t in the picture. He was in the U.S., while my brother and mom were in Mexico. When I was nearly six, my mom decided to follow my dad to the U.S. Even though I was 5, somehow I can remember every single step I took, when I left my family and crossed the border. 3 days ago my mom showed us a video where we were saying goodbye to my family in Mexico. It honestly feels like one Mexican movie, “The Crying of the People,” telling us to take care. I feel that one day I should share that video.
It’s hard to leave everything behind, I was only five, but my journey has affected me through all my life. Even now, it still makes me cry. I had my grandmother, who I promised to go back and hug her once more. With the technology getting better we were able to do video calls to Mexico. Everyone was happy except for my old lady. She just couldn’t do it. She never dared to go to the camera and say hi. I knew it was hard for her. Still I called her every night and told her how much I loved her. When I was in 8th grade, she passed away. It’s hard to tell someone for so many years that you will go back to give them a hug and they die waiting for you. Sometimes it hits me and I start to regret ever coming to the US, but I know that I have to stay strong and finish this to thank my parents for being so great. They sacrificed everything, absolutely everything, it was a new start for us. But nothing is impossible, no matter what happen in our lives it’s important to have good dreams. Dreams that we can make reality.
I came with a mentality that brought me down. I thought that all Americans hated us for coming to this country. This idea came from watching too much news. Now, I can see that much of that is exaggerated. It got to the point where as a family would go out to eat to better restaurants, and I didn’t feel welcomed when people just stared at me. I know it’s a really difficult issue. I, personally, believe that the government doesn’t have to help us, since we are not from here. But, at the same time, I have adopted this as my home. I mean no harm. I just want to get a better life, and a better future. There are many of
us who will work hard for this and will never leave their education till our goals are achieved. Now things have changed and I see that Americans are really nice and are some of the people that have helped me the most.
I was really slow in giving my trust to people who wanted to help. I tried my best to keep my grades up and join sports or other clubs to see my parents smile. I feel that my senior year was when I grew the most with the help of a teacher. She got me everywhere and taught me that I can do anything that documented people can. I met her when I was a freshman. I learned a lot and saw how I can make my parents happy and that I have to fight with what they gave me. America is now home for me. This is where I have everything and is where I feel comfortable.
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