My parents and I came here from Guatemala on a 6 month tourist visa. I was 11 years old. Before we left, our family business went bankrupt. We had lost our home there, and my parents could not afford to pay for school. So with the money we got from selling all our furniture, my parents bought airplane tickets and we came to the U.S. because it was our last hope.
Within a year of my arrival, I was already in regular English classes and on the Honor Roll. My dad got a job in construction, my mom cleaned houses. Three nights a week, my parents, my 9 year old sister and I used to pick up the garbage at a factory. On weekends, we collected bottles to recycle. Almost from the beginning my parents paid taxes, and two years after we arrived here, they applied for legal residency. Believe it or not, our application is still pending. That means my parents and sister and I can still be deported even though we did everything we were supposed to do to try to become legal.
I ended up graduating 5th in my high school class and have since graduated college and I hope to become a lawyer. But because I am undocumented, I could never get a license to practice law and that puts me in a state of limbo. I've grown up here and I feel American - I just lack the piece of paper that validates it.
"Carlos" is a young man who arrived in the United States without speaking english over 10 years ago, and recently graduated college. He aspires to become a lawyer.
His future and the future of thousands of other students who have grown up in the U.S. depends on the Development Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act) now pending in Congress. For more information visit the website, www.dontjustdreamact.com.