Javier T. – 29, Downey, California, Born in Latin America

I was only two when my parents left Latin America for the States. I have no memory of the trip and have never really talked to them about my birthplace. It’s as if my life began when I came to the U.S. Both my brother and sister were born in California and, thankfully, our family is still living here in the only home I’ve ever really known.

I’m now married to a U.S. citizen and working towards achieving my goals of completing my education and pursing a better career. Six months ago, I received my DACA paperwork.  I applied as soon as I became aware of the program and wish I had known sooner. Before completing my application, I had to save to pay the fee and take care of outstanding traffic tickets accumulated while driving without a license, something I couldn’t get until recently. By attending free seminars at USC, I received the help I needed to fill out the DACA paperwork. By taking advantage of President Obama’s deferred action, I now feel more confident that I can secure a better job with my sights set on the U.S. Postal Service. As I work, I also plan to return to community college before transferring to a four-year university. Now that I have my own family I need job security. I can’t imagine living anywhere else. I love this country and I want to do my part

Rahul K. – 24, Santa Barbara, CA, Born in India

As I progressed through high school, I started to realize the consequences of being undocumented. It was really discouraging to realize I couldn’t receive financial aid for college. Fortunately, I was able to cover college expenses with the passage of AB 540, a bill which allowed undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition. I was blessed with the opportunity to attend UC Santa Barbara. With my passion for the world of software, I wanted to tackle complex real-world challenges — to be a part of something that made a difference in people’s lives. It was frustrating to realize that, even though I was becoming accomplished in my field, I was automatically barred from internships because of my undocumented status. Despite this, I did my best to move forward by writing my own software applications and contributing my skills to non-profit organizations.

During my senior year in college, I became more stressed about my future – seeing no real career path for my skills in the States, not because I wasn’t good at what I did, but because I was undocumented. I considered leaving the country right after graduation. But the day before my graduation, my parents called, alerting me to turn on the news  — to witness President Obama announce DACA, a policy that would allow me to obtain a renewable temporary work permit. It was one of the happiest days of my life. Shortly after, I joined a high-tech start-up where I’ve been working with an inspiring team, determined to provide the next generation of software solutions.