PHOENIX — Angel Palazuelos donned a maroon cap and gown one recent afternoon, one of two colors of his alma mater, Metro Tech High School, where almost every student is an immigrant or comes from a family of immigrants. The school is part of the Phoenix Union High School District, one of the largest in the country and one whose enrollment reflects Arizona’s impending demographic destiny as a majority Latino state.
Angel, a thoughtful and ambitious teenager, embraced the instant kinship brought by his and his classmates’ shared history, but refused to settle for the low bar set for them. “When we have representatives from universities come, it’s mainly just community colleges,” Angel said. “It’s never Columbia, Princeton, Harvard.”
That weekend afternoon, he sat in front of a laptop tethered to his smartphone, his only gateway to the internet at home. Then he cleared his throat and inhaled deeply, setting aside the anxiety and uncertainty that have defined his life in this country — not just the last eight weeks of his senior year, or the racial strife, protests and nightly curfew that followed it — to speak at a virtual graduation ceremony honoring people like him: the undocumented students in the Class of 2020.
TheDream.US is the nation’s largest college access and success program for immigrant youth, having provided more than 5,000 college scholarships to DREAMers at more than 70 partner colleges in 16 states and Washington, DC. We believe that all young Americans, regardless of where they were born, should have the opportunity to get a college education and pursue a meaningful career that contributes to our country’s prosperity.