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Jose Castro

Country of Origin: Mexico

Age of Arrival: 14 years old

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Degree: Criminology


I plan to volunteer with organizations that advocate and provide resources for fatherless children, particularly young men who are looking for inspiration to succeed and keep fighting, like I was. One day, I would love to start an organization that helps equip men with the spiritual, emotional and physical tools they need to help their communities.

I arrived in the United States when I was 14. I remember feeling as though it was a different world. Everything was so neat and orderly compared to life in Mexico. I grew up in a single-mother household. In Mexico, my mother ran a successful clothing business, but then a family betrayal stripped her from all ownership of her business; after such heartache it was difficult for her to find good opportunities that would provide for the family. To forget about such heartbreak and to start fresh she immigrated to Mesa, Arizona so that she could have a better chance at providing for me. A year later I joined her.

As a teenager, I got caught up in the wrong crowd, but my mother’s words always rang in the back of my head, and eventually brought me back to my roots: “Mijo you’re different, you don’t belong with the people you hang with, you’re better than that. You are destined for greatness.” I am so grateful that by the grace of God, I found the wisdom and discernment to break from that crowd and forge a path of better choices.

With DACA and TheDream.US, I have been able to tap into these passions without hiding in the shadows. I am studying Criminology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and have truly enjoyed my criminal justice and psychology courses. I plan to use my education as a stepping stone to obtain a career within the government because I feel the Hispanic community needs more people in positions of authority.

My greatest desire is to become the man God wants me to be, because I know that means serving my family and my community to make a lasting change for the better. I have to leave this earth knowing I made a difference in the lives of others.

Where DREAMers are, things are getting better. We have faced adversity and are resilient and hungry for opportunities to make this nation better. I’d like to tell DREAMers: don’t take your foot off the gas–keep striving and bettering yourselves and your communities.