For an undocumented immigrant living in the Los Angeles area, going to college can be a big mountain to climb. It takes guts to put yourself out there and apply for college after living for so long in the shadows without citizenship status.
This was the case for one young Latino woman who is currently attending the University of California Los Angeles as a doctoral student. During at least one point in her life, she probably didn’t think she would ever make it this far in school. She is an undocumented immigrant who was brought by her parents to the United States from Mexico as a toddler. She was fortunate enough to be accepted to a university and receive tuition scholarships for the first year and a half of her schooling. Because of her lack of documentation and new laws that took effect during the middle of her sophomore year, she was no longer able to take advantage of in-state tuition.
Her determination pulled her through and she was able to make her way through school by raising funds. Her undocumented status got in the way again after graduation when she could not find a job that did not required legal residency status. She decided to attend graduate school and was accepted into Harvard and then UCLA.
She eventually became a conditional resident, free to pursue her education and her passion of studying how immigration policy affects children in families that are undocumented.
This woman never gave up on her quest to become a legal resident and to enjoy the same benefits that citizens of the country enjoy. If you are in a similar situation, you may benefit from speaking with an immigration attorney who can discuss your options toward legal residency.
Source: NBC Latino, “Studies hope to show the emotional toll on children of undocumented immigrants,” Erika L. Sanchez, Mar. 25, 2013