MoVal’s Dreamers: No Life After College

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“Being an undocumented student is different than being an undocumented immigrant adult,” stated Sayani Partida, senior. “It’s like you grew up here, this is the life you know, and for some reason, you don’t fit in.”  

In California alone, 242,339 people received DACA status between the years 2012 and 2017. These recipients are included in the estimated 800,000 people that are protected under DACA.  Officials at the Migration Policy Institute estimate that 72,300 undocumented students are currently attending California’s public colleges and universities: 60,000 at community colleges, 8,300 at Cal State and 4,000 at a UC.

Partida believed the hardest part of growing up would be “going to college and struggling to find what major I want to do.”

Now she questions what life will be like after she obtains her degree.

“It’s like, I graduate and now what?” Partida asked.

Finding a career interest isn’t what scares Partida. It was the reality that she might not be able to fulfill the dreams she has set for herself due to the current immigration policies.

“I think I want to be a 911 operator,” Partida stated with determination. Well, I’m not exactly sure what I want to do but I want to help people, maybe be part of the D.E.A. .”

No matter what career she decides to pursue, Partida will soon have to face the reality of not being able to legally obtain a job in the United States. Especially since she isn’t a DACA recipient.

“I don’t know,” Partida stated as her eyes wander around the room, thinking deeply about her future. “I would probably get an under the table job. It would make me really sad, though, because it’s something I would have been working for all my life.”

Partida went on to explain the disadvantages and pressures that come with being a young immigrant.

“Others have a stable financial income and citizenship status, I don’t have either,” Partida said as she looked down at the floor. “I feel like everyone else here with papers only have to worry about what colleges they want to go to and I have to worry about not getting enough money to go.”

Partida’s disadvantages began when she first arrived to California at a young age.

“I didn’t have a choice in coming here, I was brought here at the age of 3,” Partida stated. “It’s hard but I think God made this happen for a reason. People try to sympathize but they won’t ever truly understand unless they’re in that situation.”  

When it comes to possible solutions for the current situation immigrants face Partida feels she is at a crossroads, since ‘every solution comes with its own setbacks.’

“I could marry a U.S. citizen but even then there would be so many complications and they would kind of doubt you and ask ‘do you really love me?’ Partida states with a sigh. “I feel like the government is too strict now and it would take years to even make progress.”

Marrying a U.S citizen isn’t the only solution Partida had in mind. She also considered the possibility of being adopted.

“I mean, I’m 17, I could still get adopted,” Partida stated. There’s still time.”

Being possibly adopted by another family is not something Partida feels is ‘right,’ but believes it’s something she is willing to consider.

“I feel like I would because it wouldn’t affect my relationship with my parents, they would still be my parents, and it would be for my own benefit,” Partida stated.

Partida has gone through possible solutions for her own particular situation. Her goal is to be able to obtain a ‘legal job that she and her parents are proud of, in order to be able to help them later on and pay them back for their sacrifices.’

“Right now, I feel like I can’t help my parents because when they file their taxes, they only get money for my younger siblings but not for me,” Partida stated. “I kind of wish there were more opportunities for undocumented kids.”

Though being undocumented has brought complications to Partida’s life and has affected her beliefs, she doesn’t allow her status to change the way she views herself or the situation many other dreamers face.

“This is what God wanted for me,” Partida stated. “I’m not American, but I still consider myself to be one because I grew up here and this is all I’ve ever known.”