Since the Trump administration rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy in September 2017, there have been many stories about the accomplishments of these high-achieving young people.
The Obama-era policy, which has allowed nearly 800,000 individuals brought to the United States as children to stay and obtain work permits, has been embroiled in a court battle since the announcement. President Trump has maintained that he expects Congress to pass a legislative solution to protect DACA recipients, also commonly referred to as Dreamers.
Faces of Dreamers is a series of links and posts on the Dreamers, who remain in legal limbo in 2019. Roughly 350,000 are estimated to be currently enrolled in school or college.
Martha Paz, University of Texas
February 3, 2020
University of Texas student Martha Paz’s story is not unique. Like over 124,000 other Texans, she also received a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) designation during the Obama administration.
Carlos Aguilar, Harvard Graduate School of Education
January 6, 2020
Despite attending Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, 28-year-old Carlos Aguilar does not want to be your token Dreamer.
Arlin Karina Téllez Martínez, Trinity Washington University
December 4, 2019
Arlin Karina Téllez Martínez is a Dreamer, in more ways than one, and proud of it. Four years old when she came to the United States from Mexico, the now-20-year-old Martínez is a fierce self-advocate and activist.
Yanet Limon-Amado, Virginia Commonwealth University
November 6, 2019
When Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) senior Yanet Limon-Amado co-founded UndocuRams, a student organization advocating for undocumented students, she channeled her uncertainty into action.
Gloria Martin, Veronica Galles, and Berenice Zuñiga, College of Southern Nevada
October 2, 2019
Three College of Southern Nevada students,Gloria Martin, Veronica Galles, and Berenice Zuñiga, recently participated in “Day Dreaming: The Untold Stories of DACA Students,” an event hosted by College of Southern Nevada Student Life office and the student group Generation Dreamers, to discuss their experiences as Dreamers.
Rosa Ruvalcaba Serna, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
August 20, 2019
Rosa Ruvalcaba Serna dreamed since she was a little girl of helping others. The October 2017 night she participated in a white coat ceremony marked a major step toward reaching that goal, the beginning of her clinical training to become a nurse.
Marco Ortiz Sanchez, University of California, Irvine
July 8, 2019
Marco Ortiz Sanchez, now a sophomore business administration major at the University of California, Irvine, knows what it means to work hard. At a young age, he helped his father with his landscaping business, acting as a translator and managing the companies’ finances as he grew older.
Brayan Montes-Terrazas, Colorado State Univeristy
May 22, 2019
Brayan Montes-Terrazas stood up and became the voice for fellow DACA students on campus as the president of Dreamers United at Colorado State University.
Mariana Sarmiento Hernández, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
April 15, 2019
Mariana Sarmiento Hernández is using her experience as an undocumented student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to carve a path for others in a similar situation as the resource coordinator for the Office of Diversity Initiatives.
Kebin Lopez, University of Florida Levin College of Law
March 27, 2019
Kebin Lopez should have had a difficult decision before him: choosing between the multiple law schools that accepted his application. Instead, the decision was made for him when two institutions in Georgia rescinded their acceptance due to his DACA immigration status.
Yael Balbuena, Deya Garcia, and other Arizona Dreamers
Feb. 11, 2019
Yael Balbuena and Deya Garcia are Dreamers advocating for better access to higher education in Arizona, where DACA recipients are ineligible for in-state tuition.
Carlos Mendez-Durantes and Other Scientists
Jan. 22, 2019
Carlos Mendez-Durantes is a PhD student and Ford Foundation fellow studying cancer treatments at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center in Duarte, California. As a DACA recipient, Mendez-Durantes and other researchers like him face an uncertain future when it comes to continuing their studies.
Faces of Dreamers: Jin Park, Rhodes Scholar
Dec. 19, 2018
Jin Park is a senior at Harvard University and the first DACA recipient to receive a Rhodes Scholarship.
Cynthia Torres, Missouri Southern State University
Nov. 19, 2018
Cynthia Torres is a DACA recipient and founder of a student organization called The Friendly Immigrant at Missouri Southern State University, which brings together undocumented students and their allies to raise awareness and funds for DACA-recipient students.
Linett Isela Lopez, University of Houston-Downtown
Oct. 10, 2018
DACA status helped Linett Isela Lopez pursue her goal of working with disadvantaged elementary school students, but now her dream is at risk. Like many other Dreamers, she has bounced between hope and fear as the future of DACA remains in limbo.
Daniela Gaona, Johns Hopkins University
Sept. 19, 2018
Lack of funds nearly kept Daniela Gaona from achieving her dream of attending graduate school at Johns Hopkins University (MD) for a degree in mental health counseling, as dreamers are ineligible for federal financial aid or even state aid in some states. But emergency aid from her institution arrived just in time.
Jorge Mendez Barcelo, Woodbury University
Aug. 15, 2018
Jorge Mendez Barcelo is a Dreamer with ambition. He has already earned a master’s degree in business administration from Woodbury University (CA) and started his own tax consultancy business. Now he has his sights set on law school.
Lucero Estrada, Andrea Scarios Valazquez, and Alan Platon, Incoming College Freshmen
July 11, 2018
Recent high school graduates Lucero Estrada, Andrea Scarios Valazquez, and Alan Platon faced anxiety over the uncertain future of their immigration status as Dreamers and of the DACA program during their senior year.
Jacob Maldonado and Maria Campos, Trevecca Nazarene University (TN)
June 7, 2018
Dreamers Jacob Maldonado and Maria Campos, best friends and fellow students at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, persevered in their studies despite wondering if it was still worth pursuing their college degrees after the 2016 elections and political winds shifting against the DACA policy.
Rosa Sanchez, TheDream.US Scholarship Recipient
May 3, 2018
Rosa Sanchez, a leader and top in her class, worried about affording college given that Dreamers can’t receive federal student financial aid. Thanks to a TheDream.US scholarship, she can follow her dream of studying to be a neurosurgeon.
Josh Boloña and Karen Caudillo, University of Central Florida
March 28, 2018
Two candidates for student government president at the University of Central Florida were Dreamers: engineering student Josh Boloña and international relations major Karen Caudillo.
Diana Umana, Smith College
Feb. 26, 2018
Originally from El Salvador, Diana Umana, a junior at Smith College (MA), and her family have been able to live in the United States without fear of deportation thanks to DACA and Temporary Protected Status (TPS). But all of that changed over the past few months with the rescission of DACA in September 2017 and the subsequent move in January to end the protected status of 200,000 Salvadorans.
Karen Reyes of Texas and Other Teachers
Feb. 5, 2018
Karen Reyes, who teaches deaf toddlers in Austin, TX, is one of roughly 9,000 Dreamers with DACA status who work as educators. She is at a loss as to how to explain to her young students why she may not be able to continue as their teacher.
Hector Rivera Suarez, Guilford College (NC)
Jan. 17, 2018
Rivera Suarez arrived in North Carolina from Mexico when he was 8-years-old along with his older sister and parents. Today, Rivera Suarez is the student body president at Guilford College in Greensboro and dreams of becoming a teacher.
Santiago Tobar Potes, Columbia University
Dec. 4, 2017
Dreamer Santiago Tobar Potes says after he arrived in the United States at age four, he watched television news to learn English. Now in his second year at Columbia University (NY), Potes writes in Civic Nation Voice on Forbes.com that the opportunity to study and gain a quality education “is the greatest gift I have ever received.”
Jorge Reyes Salinas, California State University Student Trustee
Nov. 27, 2017
When Jorge Reyes Salinas was 10, his parents cobbled together enough money to leave Peru to start a new life in Los Angeles. They wanted a better future for their only son, who thought he was going to Disneyland. Today, Reyes Salinas is a DACA recipient attending California State University, Northridge, and is the student appointee to the Cal State Board of Trustees.
Fatima, Case Western Reserve University
Nov. 20, 2017
Last month, Fatima, a first-year Case Western Reserve University (OH) student brought to the United States as a one-year-old from Honduras, traveled to Washington, DC, to tell her story to lawmakers. Fatima was one of dozens of Dreamers who went to Capitol Hill as part of an advocacy event organized by FWD.us to stress the importance of Congress acting quickly to pass legislation protecting their status and ability to legally work, attend school, and serve in the military.
The Hope and Humanity of Mayra’s Eyes
Nov. 13, 2017
Mayra, a Dreamer who was born in Mexico with a condition that caused impaired vision and migraines, came to the United States in 1992 at age 7 to settle in California with her family. More than a decade later, thanks to the DACA program, she was able to get the health insurance she needed and see clearly for the first time in her life, Laurene Powell Jobs, the founder and president of Emerson Collective, writes in Time.
Diana Montelongo, University of California, Berkeley Graduate
Nov. 6, 2017
Diana Montelongo, a 23-year-old seventh-grade math teacher in Sacramento, CA, and a Teach for America corps member, is one of an estimated 20,000 DACA recipients who are currently teaching in K-12 classrooms, reports The 74, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news website covering education.
Laura Salas, Monmouth College
Nov. 1, 2017
Laura Salas, who was brought to the United States from Mexico 11 years ago, considers herself lucky. The DACA policy gave her the certainty she needed to pursue a college degree, and she now is a junior at Monmouth College (IL).
Juan Vasquez, University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine
Oct. 30, 2017
Juan Vasquez, who was brought to the United States illegally from El Salvador when he was nine years old, was in class at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine (UCSF) when he heard about the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA.
Oct. 25, 2017
Dreamer Nicolle Uria, a senior at Annandale High School in Fairfax Country, VA, plans to apply to college, major in journalism or business and one day head a media company, reports The Washington Post. But, the paper noted in a profile of her, “the DACA decision turned that future, once brimming with goals, into a waiting game stuffed with questions, ones only Congress can answer and make her wonder if she has a future here at all.”
Loyola University Chicago Students
Oct. 20, 2017
Loyola tells the stories of four of their students as part of its campaign to support Dreamers and ask Congress to pass legislation permanently supporting these outstanding young people.
Four Harvard University Students Recount Their Journeys
Oct. 19, 2017
Four undocumented Harvard undergraduates spoke to the Harvard Gazette in May, prior to the Trump administration’s decision in September to rescind DACA, about their challenges, concerns, and hopes.
Karina Aguilar Guerrero, Princeton University
Oct. 17, 2017
DACA recipient Karina Aguilar Guerrero, who is studying public policy and education at Princeton University (NJ), is one of five Dreamers on the cover of People en Español‘s November issue.
Linda Escot and Ricardo Lujan, Southern Oregon University
Oct. 17, 2017
Southern Oregon University (SOU) student Linda Escot was brought to the United States at age 6 and dreams of becoming a pediatrician, but says the Trump administration’s decision to rescind DACA “was like a punch in the face.” Recent Southern Oregon graduate Ricardo Lujan, who worked his way through college, is now reconsidering his plans to go to law school.
Roshell Rosales & Fernanda Herrera
Oct. 13, 2017
The percentage of immigrants in Alabama is relatively small—under 4 percent in 2015, according to the American Immigration Council. As of 2016, 55 percent of immigrants in the state of Alabama eligible for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—or 4,803 people—had applied for DACA. Two of those Alabamans with DACA status are University of Montevallo student Roshell Rosales and recent Samford University graduate Fernanda Herrera, profiled over the summer by AL.com.
Bryan Peña, California State University, Los Angeles
Oct. 11, 2017
Bryan Peña is open about his status as a Dreamer, something that hasn’t changed since President Trump rescinded DACA last month. As he told the Los Angeles Times, which profiled him and four other DACA recipients at a rally last month, “This is where I want to live. This is the only life I know.”
OPINION: We’re Scaring Off Future Einsteins: USD President
USA Today (March 17, 2017)
The question we must consider is: Would Einstein still seek asylum in the United States today, or would he be scared away by the current rhetoric and proposed policies? Based on what I am hearing from aspiring Einsteins, the answer would be “scared away.” To change that, we must show that we are a compassionate nation, and that we understand the difference between keeping America safe and making America great.
By James T. Harris, president of the University of San Diego. Also see USD’s National Dialogue on Immigration page.
The New York Times
The New York Times Editorial Board has called on the Trump administration to preserve DACA. Click here for a selection of stories from young immigrants who were spared from deportation and permitted to work during the Obama administration.
Gloria Oduyoye, William and Mary Law School
Oct. 10, 2017
Gloria Oduyoye, who was brought to the United States as a one-year-old, is in her final semester at William and Mary (VA) Law School, after earning her undergraduate dual degree in political science and music at Wesleyan College (GA). She is on track to become the first DACA recipient to graduate from law school in Virginia.
Isabel Johnston, University of Cincinnati College of Law
Oct. 5, 2017
University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Law School student Isabel Johnston discovered her undocumented status at age 15, according to The News Record, UC’s student newspaper.
Areli Munoz-Reyes, Forest Park Community College
Oct. 4, 2017
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch talks with DACA recipient and St. Louis Community College–Forest Park student Munoz-Reyes, who found out when she was undocumented when she was 16.
Tony Solis, Davidson College
Oct. 2, 2017
Tony Solis, an undocumented Davidson College (NC) student who grew up in Chicago, is profiled by The Washington Post.