Jacquelin S. –  26, Asheville, NC. Born in Mexico

There are so many things I want to do and I’m young and eager to make my way, but being Undocumented keeps holding me back. After graduation from high school, my only option was community college, taking a few classes while working at a local department store to pay for them. Over the years, I’ve wanted to become a teacher or social worker. I also have a real interest in biology, and as a biology teacher, I could combine careers; but first I have to get my degree.

I’ve been fortunate to have good teachers to inspire me and I have no intention of giving up, but I do get discouraged when I have so much to offer my community and a simple piece of paper keeps getting in my way. I want to help others, particularly children. Currently, I work as a receptionist at a local pediatrics health practice. I had volunteered at a free clinic in Wilmington and found I liked the healthcare field.

I’m on my own in Asheville having left my family in Wilmington to pursue studies at UNC, Ashville. I’m working full-time and plan to take classes as I can to pay for them. Right now I’m in my sophomore year. These are precious years for me and I’m being held back, not because of ability or desire, but because of a state law that won’t allow me to pay in-state tuition.

I applied for DACA in 2012, so at least I qualified for deferred action, which gives me a little more piece of mind. My older brother is also trying to get his degree and is encountering the same obstacles. We persist. We have to.

My parents brought us to the States in 1995 and my mom submitted her immigration paperwork in 2001, but has yet to hear anything. I have a younger brother who was born here so he’s a citizen, making my parents eligible to apply for DAPA if the Supreme Court upholds it.

I want to make my parents proud. I will find a way to finish school and realize my full potential. I owe it to them and to myself. I owe it to my community and to the country I love. This is home to me. It’s all I know. I will keep fighting for the acceptance I’ve earned. I consider myself an asset, someone who will enrich this country, who will make a positive difference.

It’s so sad that so many in power try to dim the lights of the Undocumented, to make us give up hope and feel not worthy. But I believe we will find a way to shine. I know I will.