I’m turning 17 this year and I’m worried for the future. Immediately after the summer, I will be a senior in High School. Most teenagers by now would be excited that their last year of high school is approaching, but I’m only filled with worry. I think about getting a job or even going to college, and the obstacles I’ll face.
It’s not the children’s fault that they’re an illegal immigrants. I was brought to the United States when I was 5 and have been here almost 12 years. It would be hard to go back to the country I was born in, as I will not have full knowledge of how to speak the language and will not know anyone there. Right now, leaving the United States is not an option.
Many people hate the fact that Dream Act is an easy answer to give citizenship for illegal immigrants. However, I’m just a victim and it is cruel how people think we are the bad guys. Illegal immigrants may not pay taxes directly to the state, but we do contribute by buying and working here.
Is there any way for me to get a green card or anything? I really hope the Dream Act passes soon for the sake of the dreams that haven’t been accomplished yet.
Hey! Thank you for your e-mail and for taking the time out to ask for advice, I know many times it’s a difficult thing to do. I want to take this time and congratulate you on your upcoming graduation! Sometimes it’s hard to understand why we even go through this if we feel stuck, but this is a huge win for you and your family as well. For all the times they were shut out of opportunities and put their dreams on hold, you’re now able to finish school. It’s part of that whole “better life” deal they came searching for.
Getting a job and going on to college, as an undocumented person, is possible, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! Sometimes, you may have to settle for a job, or a school, that wasn’t your first choice. These are circumstances faced by documented and undocumented people alike, the only difference of course is those 9 digit numbers. If you decide to go on to college and you have a valid visa stamp on your passport, you can apply to private universities as an international student; some private universities will accept you even if you do not have that stamp and may even offer scholarships. Talk to the administration about financial aid opportunities as well as being admitted or not. DO NOT assume that because you got in, the school will automatically help you finance your education, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, the school hands you an acceptance letter but takes the scholarships away, doesn’t offer them at all or even takes your acceptance away. It is always good to be upfront and honest about these things to the staff in order to avoid a major heartbreak (yes, not being able to go to school causes heartbreak). Also, go to more than one person, school staff don’t always know what they are talking about.
About work, many get an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) and use those to work. Others have opened up their own Limited Liability Company (LLC) because of certain skills they possess and are hired through there. I’m going to be honest and tell you right now, it’s not an easy road and it’s not going to get easier, but like Alaa from IYJL said, we get stronger. Try to surround yourself with folks who are either in the same situation as you, or sympathetic to the struggle. It’s difficult to see citizen friends move on with their lives and you’re still stuck in time. You will always have a support system across state lines <3 You can def follow us on twitter. It’s easier to deal with all this when you have someone to vent with or make fun of people with [:
About getting papers.
If you came in to this country without inspection, especially after 2011, it is almost impossible to get citizenship while you are here. There is no line to get on. Folks with visa stamps many times get married for papers; that is a possibility. Make sure to speak to a lawyer before hand, if your application is denied, you may end up in deportation proceedings and ultimately, deported. Also, not everyone benefits from marriage. Before the age of 21, a documented legal guardian, or any other immediate family member, can file a petition for you. If your guardian gets married, and is on a path to citizenship, they can file for you. There’s a visa for homeless children who are then emancipated, so if your guardians are willing to release all rights over you, speak with a lawyer. Before 18 you can also be adopted by someone else who has citizenship and petition for you, in case you want to go down that road, but understand that time is limited right now. There are also visa opportunities for spouses who have been victims of reported domestic violence, as well as people who were victims of a hate crime. You can be sponsored by an employer. If you were to have a child of your own, opportunities for citizenship can only happen after the child is 21. After 21 you’ve basically aged out of being petitioned and become full-fledged undocumented, unless of course the Dream Act, or any other immigration reform, passes. Then again, some of this stuff may be wrong, I am not a lawyer and do not take this as legal advice.
I don’t really believe the Dream Act is an easy win, if so, it wouldn’t be over 10 years with the bill lingering and not becoming a law. Also, I don’t blame my mom for my immigration status. I think there is enough blame placed on them because of a system that is designed to separate families. A system they had no control over. It breaks my heart to see you blame parents.
Undocumented immigrants do pay taxes directly to the state, compared to many corporations who pay none. Finally, not to be mean or rude, but I suggest dropping the use of the “I” word. No human being is illegal, you yourself are not illegal. The term is derogatory and overall offensive. It’s simply a rude way of referring to another person. There is a whole campaign designed around this word and its use in the media.
I hope I was able to help in some way. Feel free to e-mail me with follow up questions or any new information you find. This system is super tricky to navigate as an undocumented person, but it can be done and we should stick together through it. Just look at those who have done it before us; many parents have made lives for themselves here without the hope of a Dream Act for them.
I wish you the best of luck on your graduation and what comes afterwards. Happy early birthday!
I AM NOT A LAWYER AND THE STUFF THAT IS SAID HERE IS JUST ANGY ADVICE, NOT LEGAL ADVICE. SPEAK TO A PROFESSIONAL. NYSYLC IDEALS AND BELIEFS ARE NOT REPRESENTED THROUGH MY WRITING.
Created on Oct 21, 2010. Ask Angy is the first undocumented youth advice column. It was born in the New York State Youth Leadership Council because there was no space to ask questions or seek advice. This blog is a space for youth to email their concerns, questions, stories or simply ask for help without being judged. Email them to Angy at Angy@nysylc.org or fill out this form.
This is a space to let it all out! You don’t have to bottle it up inside. Your stories and worries matter! You are not alone. Remember, the insecurities and fears you have, someone else is them having too. Don’t be afraid to speak out.
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