Financial Hardship / Making History / Stories

Heyra A.- Future Immigration Lawyer

Heyra A, 19, Florence, Kentucky, Born in Veracruz, Mexico

heyraIt was a long and nerve-racking process getting my family into the States. First my father came and stayed with mom’s siblings, then he came back for my mom and together they came back for me and brought me here from Veracruz, Mexico in 2000 when I was only four. Now we’re all together — mom, dad and my three younger siblings, who were born in the U.S.

I graduated from high school in 2014, two years after DACA. Before DACA, I worked as a hostess at a Mexican restaurant and was paid in cash. I drove without a license because I had to get to work. I lived with the constant fear of being pulled over and separated from my family. With DACA, I was able to secure the documents I needed to drive, to attend college full-time and to work part-time. I still live with my family, saving what I can for college. My major is political science and I hope to become an immigration lawyer. I’m already active in immigration issues and welcome speaking engagements from community organizations. Paying for college is a struggle since I’m not eligible for federal assistance. For a while, I attended a private Jesuit university before transferring to a state university in Cincinnati. Along the way, I’ve gotten help from some wonderful people. Now I’m completing my first semester and I’m determined to realize my dream. My parents are very supportive. My father will be applying for DAPA. Even my mom may explore this option. Family is everything and we’re taking advantage of the deferred action remedies offered to us so we can stay together – all the while hoping for real immigration reform.