Paulina Diaz

Paulina Diaz

Sterling, VA

December 2004 was the month I moved to the United States. My sister, a US citizen offered my parents the opportunity to move to Virginia and watch over her kids. My parents at the time were retired so they needed some income. As a minor, I was brought along and pursue my dreams and become a professional. The process for US residency is not the easiest to go through. However, my parents were accepted after one year. Our lawyer at the time offered to open separate files, which she mentioned to be an effective way to obtain residency. Unfortunately, the idea of having separate files increased the price for our submission. At age 18, my acceptance for residency was received, but the law in congress didn’t allow residents over the age of 18 to apply and go to second stage. The option given was to go back to Chile and be penalized for 10 years and risk all of my dreams. My education means everything to me, therefore; I decided to remain in the country and wait. I was undocumented for almost eight years until the government presented The Deferred Action. I was able to obtain my Employment Authorization Card, which is only valid for two years. Next February 2015, I will go through the process again and pay additional fees. Just last semester, the state of VA allows Dreamers to pay instate tuition. I believe that each person raised in this country and after going to school should deserve equal education opportunities. Unfortunately, we are still unable to apply for Financial Aid. No credit history enables us to apply for student loans or credit cards. Only some organizations will provide scholarships to us. Schools continue to increase tuitions, which as an immigrant we are trapped paying for a three credit class in full. So as a college student and deferred action applicant; I continue to fight for equality in education. We are the future of this country, but we are constantly getting stepped on for being immigrant. These obstacles in life only make us work together and speak out for our rights to become professionals. To the undocumented immigrants that were not as privileged to obtain deferred action, but are today professionals; you all inspired me every day to never give up in my dreams. Let’s hope that our America understands our stories and finally accepts us as Americans.

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