For Immediate Release: August 20, 2020
Contact: Carli Kientzle at [email protected]
“Camila” of Texas A&M San Antonio and Sheyla of University of North Texas at Dallas are TheDream.US’ “DREAMers of the Week”
Washington, DC – TheDream.US, the nation’s largest college access and success program for undocumented immigrant youth, is continuing its “DREAMer of the Week” feature – a weekly profile of a TheDream.US Scholar whose stories offers a powerful example of the incalculable contributions of DREAMers to America.
This week’s DREAMers are Camila, a Scholar of Texas A&M San Antonio and Sheyla, a Scholar of University of North Texas at Dallas:
My parents, although they speak of all the great opportunities of the United States, cannot deny the fact that it came with a price. They came to this country to give me a better life, but at the cost of leaving theirs. It has always been my parents and their desire for me to succeed that has fueled my ambition to extend my education to achieve a better future.
At Texas A&M, I plan to study biology. Learning about something I love and getting the required is really important to me, as it will grant me a higher chance to make a change and give to my community. Everyone is different and has their own unique talents and skills to contribute to this country, but it shouldn’t mean that they must be born in this country to contribute.
As a first generation college student, I had little to no assistance from my parents when it came to college. They wanted to help me, but their education ended with high school — they didn’t understand the process. I have no older siblings, but I do have a younger brother, who I hope will follow in my footsteps some day and remember to keep dreaming and realizing his goals.
Three years after we came to the United States, when I was about 5, my parents sat me down and explained to me that we were undocumented. Being so young, I didn’t fully comprehend the weight of the situation or the hurdles and limits I would come to face. I’ve always seen American as my home, but recent events have challenged that perception. Nevertheless, remaining in America is crucial. It will provide me with an opportunity to create change through higher education and hard work.
Not everyone has the same opportunities. DACA and TPS allow undocumented people to attempt to make a better future for themselves. Many students and everyday workers are able to contribute to society everyday under DACA and bring diversity and culture into a rapidly developing country.
My biggest fear about potentially losing my status is the loss of opportunity. I, alongside so many others, have worked so hard to get where we are. Without our status, we won’t have the opportunity to prove what we can do.
I am a first generation college student at the University of North Texas at Dallas, and I also work full time. I hope to set a good example for my little brother and become the role model he needs. I am grateful for the opportunities DACA has granted me. I am especially thankful that TheDream.US is giving me the opportunity to gain an education to change the world for the better and to prove to everyone that a DREAMer can be as successful as a citizen who was born here. I want to open a company and help DREAMers achieve their goals and find success in life.
I hope to start a business that can help DREAMers reach their goals, but I am nervous about how the immigration policies will change in the near future. With status uncertainty, I may not be able to finish my degree and will have to step down to help my parents. Regardless, I will tell DREAMers not to give up on who they want to become. Never let anyone bring you down or make you believe you are nothing. Remember that you are you, and you get to decide what happens in your life.
Like many other immigrants, I am from a mixed status family. My parents never had the opportunities to complete a career or attend a university. My older sisters, whom both live elsewhere, dropped out of high school, and my brother is the only U.S. born citizen. I was able to meet my eldest sister a few years ago, but It has been 17 years since the last time my other sister saw me. I have no memory of her, but I am able to stay in touch with different social media platforms. My family made many sacrifices to come to America, they left everything they knew, including their own daughter behind to do what was best for the entire family.
I was just two years old when we immigrated, and I started adjusting while beginning school. Having to learn a new language and getting used to hearing it every day was difficult, and I also had to adjust to growing up without the rest of my family. Seeing everyone else with their grandparents, cousins, aunts, etc. took a real toll on me and still does today. Growing up in America was a little frightening, since I didn’t know where I was. As I grew up, adjusting to the country took figuring out where I am and what goals I could accomplish being here. I admit, I never liked seeing the news regarding the immigration policies and seeing people separated from their families, since I know what it feels like having your parent being taken away. I have always known I was undocumented, and even still America has always been my home. Remaining in this country is important to me, because it is the only place I know and where I grew up to accomplish everything I have done. Not only that, but I can’t imagine being taken back to a country I do not know, and being forced to stay there. Being in America has taught me that I can change things and to not be afraid to step up.
TheDream.US has provided over 6,500 college scholarships to DREAMers at more than 70 partner colleges in 16 states and Washington, DC.
The Scholars’ stories are especially powerful and poignant following the 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.
- Read through TheDream.US Scholar story-bank, featuring powerful personal reflections from Scholars about their lives, journeys, and future goals here
- Hear from two TheDream.US graduates, now working as a teacher and a nurse, discussing the impact of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program online here
- Watch a new video featuring TheDream.US college graduates online here