Imoved from the Dominican Republic to Queens, New York, when I was four years old. Because I was very young, I don’t recall much about how it was transitioning [to live] here, but I consider this my home. It’s the only home that I’ve ever known. I found out that I was undocumented in high school. I wanted to apply to jobs because my friends were applying. Then my mom told me that I couldn’t. It was just so heartbreaking to hear—I was in a state of shock. I didn’t believe my mom when she told me. I just remember thinking, Well, there goes the rest of my life that I had planned. Now, I have to make up another life scenario, where I don’t live here anymore. It was just unbelievable to me. Like, What do you mean I don’t live here? What do you mean I can’t [get a job]? I felt useless.
I found out the Trump administration was trying to terminate DACA [in 2017] a few days before I turned 15—the year I was eligible to apply to the program. I didn’t really understand it until my mom explained it to me. My mom was preparing some folders of my paperwork from school and stuff. I remember asking her, “Is this for what you said? Can I work now?” But once I found out that I could apply, it was too late. My mom told me that we were going to fight this and there were other people who were going to fight this too.
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