“I started going to a community college. It was hard at the beginning because I was one of the very first ones that were accepted and… nobody really knew what DACA was. So, it was hard to explain to them, you know, I’m not a citizen. I’m not working towards citizenship this is just… kind of temporary till they figure out what’s going on.
Because without a status, you know, you couldn’t find a decent paying job, and then on top of that, the fact that you have to work and then you have to drive to school. So, I was only able to take a few classes. I was spending my money on risking driving back and forth to places … I was just putting myself at risk (without a license).
I think a lot of people just get exhausted, exhausted to go to places and to go to talk to these people. And some people are really willing to help you, some of them, you know, they go the extra mile to help you and to look for the right information. It’s just frustrating, because everywhere you go it seems like there’s a “you can’t do this” or “you can’t do that”, many, many obstacles. As I said, I was blessed enough to have some good people helping me. Thank God I had the right information.
So I provided those papers (adjustment of status) to the community college and I was able to get in-state-tuition. Unfortunately I cannot do that with a university, so right now I’ll take my bachelors out with out-of-state tuition. The university won’t take that paper, for them I don’t have a status, even having DACA.
It, it’s hard. Especially when you try to do the right things the right way and you know society really looks at us like we come here and take, take something away from them. But I mean it, it’s hard. It’s draining. That’s why I think a lot of, you know a lot of our community, not just Latino but the immigrant community, they kind of give up.
To be honest, if we are talking about immigration, I think of the image of chains. People don’t have any sort of status, they are like tied up in a chain, because you can’t do anything. You might be the brightest person in the world, but eventually without a social security here and the right help, you can’t do anything and it’s frustrating. I would not be where I am right now without DACA. Yeah. I mean there are still obstacles out there but I’m in a much better place then I was two years ago, three years ago.”
*Pseudonym, not his real name. Data collected in 2017.
Research study conducted by Dr. Laura M. Gonzalez, School of Ed., UNC Greensboro