A year ago, President Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for young people who were brought to the U.S. when they were children by their immigrant parents. The program is a reprieve from deportation and a chance for DREAMers to get a work permit, which has helped transform many lives. As an immigrant, I may not understand their fear of being taken away, but I do understand the fear of losing everything you have been building.
I think the essence of coming to America is giving people infinite opportunities to make impossibilities become possible.
When I was in my native China, I was spoiled and highly dependent on my parents. I was an average student who couldn’t dig into my deeper soul and know what I wanted because I had everything prepared by my parents. I didn’t know how to cook, never worked, never paid a bill. I didn’t know people were struggling with discrimination issues. I could never imagine that families were being torn apart. My only concern in life was studying hard, getting good grades, attending a top university and graduating.
After my family came to the U.S., I began to realize what I was capable of. I could hold two part-time jobs while I worked to earn my G.E.D. I could pay the bills for my entire family all on my own. I could work as a Registered Nursing Assistant even though biology was never my strong suit. I could gain acceptance into U.C. Berkeley, one of the best universities in the world, and then be selected to attend their U.C. Washington Center program. I could be hired to work on immigration reform at the Center for Community Change, first as an intern and now as a fellow.
I’m so grateful for all that I’ve been able to accomplish. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t come to the U.S. And I’m now fighting for DREAMers who have the same enthusiasm and hope for the future as I do. We should all be granted equal status so that we can make our lives better and contribute to the country we love.