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Karina Ortiz Ramirez

Age of Arrival: 2 years

Hometown: Salem, Oregon

Degree: Education


I was only two when we came to the United States, but my older sisters have told me about our journey. My parents told us we had to split up, so my sisters went first and I followed. We reunited at my aunt’s house in Los Angeles. Growing up in America I never had any issues. My family and friends made the adjustment easy. In fourth grade, my parents explained our status to me. After that, I began noticing that I was ineligible for some opportunities. I couldn’t travel or apply for scholarships.


My parents never finished school – my dad only went up to fourth grade, and my mom to sixth grade. Two of my sisters are nurses. One is enrolled in a dental hygienist program, and my brother is about to start sixth grade. This fall, thanks to DACA and TheDream.US, I’ll start classes at Western Oregon University as a junior, after two years of community college. DACA gave me the opportunity to further my education, get a job, a driver’s license, and peace of mind.


I am really anxious about losing my DACA status not just because I would be separated from my friends and family. There is no reason to be skeptical about DACA – this program is a necessity. It only helps people – immigrant children – and doesn’t hurt anyone.