For Immediate Release: September 12, 2019
Contact: Nicky Vogt at 610-389-1314 and [email protected]
Erik of Rutgers University-Newark 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 launching a “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 more than 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 as we near the November 12th 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.
Hundreds of our Scholars, including Erik, are college graduates who legally work and contribute to our country. If the Supreme Court rules to end the DACA program, Erik and approximately 700,000 DREAMers like him will lose their ability to legally work in the United States.
This week’s DREAMer is Erik, a Scholar graduate of Rutgers University-Newark:
I feel that Dreamers are as American as all citizens in the country. We contribute, we work, we create, we employ, we serve, we are visionaries, we are more than just Dreamers.
We stand for equality and for basic human rights, and we pride ourselves in being part of this great nation. We are more civically engaged than most folks; we care about the issues affecting our communities. And a significant percentage of us go to school, receive higher education and want to make a difference in the country.
That is just one reason it is so terrifying, and very frustrating, that nothing is getting done to resolve DACA, which allows me to drive and work legally in the U.S.
It always has been a sacrifice, and until this day it continues to be a sacrifice, to be an immigrant in this country. I came here at age eight with my two twin sisters, who were just three years old, and my mother. My adjustment here was tough, it was a complete change – different language, different food, different culture.
Being a TheDream.US Scholar changed my life completely. It gave me the opportunity to attend college, and from there to have more opportunities to follow my dreams. I recently graduated with my Master’s Degree, because I received a grad school scholarship from my undergraduate university, Rutgers. I worked full time while pursuing my Master’s Degree. Now, I’d like to go to law school, then work for the government and maybe even run for political office someday.
My college experience provided me with great opportunities and a very supportive environment that actively helped the immigrant community. I graduated with a degree in Public Administration & Nonprofit Management with a 3.89 GPA. I was involved with the campus group for Dreamers, the political science honors society, and other organizations on campus. I’ve also already put my degree into practice through a series of internships – at the American Civil Liberties Union of NJ, with a local Assemblyman, and with the district office of a New Jersey member of Congress.
I’d like to tell younger Dreamers to never give up and to know that there are always people who will support you in the college journey. It is very easy to lose focus and get discouraged, but nothing in life is linear. Stay focused and know that you can make it. Work hard and things will come.
I have two younger twin sisters that just graduated from high school and are inspired, motivated and ready to make an impact, in college and in my community. I know that their story, and the younger generation’s, is just beginning
- 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