By Gaby Pacheco March 2, 2018
Gabriela, 18, from Texas, born in Mexico.
Although my parents were only able to receive a grade school education in Mexico, today they own two small businesses. It has not been an easy journey for them due to their legal status, but they have continued to demonstrate to me and my siblings that one’s status shouldn’t define who they are. I began to view the U.S. as home when the English language became second nature to me, when I adapted to my new school, and when the idea of returning to Mexico did not cross my mind anymore. I knew that if we returned, my sister and I would not receive a quality education and my family would struggle financially. By staying and working hard in this new home, we had a chance at stability and success. There isn’t a specific time that I realized I was undocumented, but I do recall asking my parents about going back to Mexico to visit my grandma, and they told me that we couldn’t go because if we did, we wouldn’t come back. I received DACA when I was 16, and it has allowed me to work and attend college. DACA has allowed me to feel secure about living in the United States. I don’t let myself think about what I would do if DACA was revoked and not replaced— all I know is I would find a way to continue my education and be there for my family. Because of DACA, and opportunities like TheDream.US, there is hope for the undocumented community. Because of DACA/TPS, we are able to contribute to society by obtaining an education and joining the workforce. After college, I plan to have a stable job that allows me to help my community and other undocumented youth. I also hope I can provide for my family, and continue my education by attending graduate school. I want my fellow undocumented students to know that we are not our legal status–it does not define us. With hard work, we all have the potential to be successful and contribute to this nation that is our home.