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The Et Cetera

A long road of memories, dreams and hopes

By Griselda Torres

I did not choose to come to the United States; I was brought here from Mexico when I was 2 years old by my parents, who wanted a better life.
Throughout my life I’ve always had to remind myself that I was not like everyone else in my class.
In grade school, I remember my friends talking about how they enjoyed visiting family in Mexico.
I have always wanted to go back and re-visit the memories of my childhood that have faded over time.
I longed to be able to see, feel and smell the aromas of my roots and to visit family that I haven’t seen in years.
But without documentation, none of this is possible. In fact, many things others take for granted are not possible for me.
If I were a legal citizen, I would be able to apply to work at a local store, bank, restaurant or retail store.
Instead, I am relegated to a job that requires hard labor and bosses who don’t care about my right as a person. I am even thought of less just because I’m a woman.
Applying for scholarships would also be easier, and I would be able to qualify for financial aid.
Because I don’t have a Social Security number, it’s as though I don’t exist, even though I have lived most of my life here in Texas.
After graduating from high school, I wanted to apply to a beauty school close to where I live. I tried to apply to five different schools, but they couldn’t even start the application process because of my non-citizenship. That was hard to accept. Even beauty school wasn’t an easy option, so surely a four-year university would be out of my reach.
If only I had the option to become a citizen. But, like when I came here as a little girl, I don’t have an option.
That’s what the Dream Act is, a better option for people like me. Because of politics, however, it still remains just a dream.
What we do have now is Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Everyone confuses this with the Dream Act, but Deferred Action is just a promise from the president for students to live in the U.S. with no fear of being deported. It lasts only two years with a chance for renewal.  Under Deferred Action, I can also apply for legal permission to work here in the U.S.
Having a job would help me a lot. I could pay for college and be more independent instead of relying on my parents to help me with everything.
Then I would be able to give back to my parents by helping them as they have helped me.
My father is the only one in our family of seven who has a job. Being the oldest child is tough. My siblings were all born here, so they do not have to worry about anything and will have a much easier life than I will.
For me, Deferred Action is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. That’s why my father paid for me to see two different lawyers to talk about what I need to do.
It was expensive, but we would rather be safe than sorry when dealing with legal issues.
Unfortunately, I still won’t be able to get a driver’s license.
Owning a car and being able to travel is a privilege I desperately want to obtain, because transportation can be a hassle for an active college student.
For me, Deferred Action is a start, but it is not a solution. The actual Dream Act is what would make a real difference in my life.

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