Rahul K, 24, Santa Barbara, CA, Born in India
As I progressed through high school, I started to realize the consequences of being undocumented. It was really discouraging to realize I couldn’t receive financial aid for college. Fortunately, I was able to cover college expenses with the passage of AB 540, a bill which allowed undocumented students to qualify for in-state tuition. I was blessed with the opportunity to attend UC Santa Barbara. With my passion for the world of software, I wanted to tackle complex real-world challenges — to be a part of something that made a difference in people’s lives. It was frustrating to realize that, even though I was becoming accomplished in my field, I was automatically barred from internships because of my undocumented status. Despite this, I did my best to move forward by writing my own software applications and contributing my skills to non-profit organizations.
During my senior year in college, I became more stressed about my future – seeing no real career path for my skills in the States, not because I wasn’t good at what I did, but because I was undocumented. I considered leaving the country right after graduation. But the day before my graduation, my parents called, alerting me to turn on the news — to witness President Obama announce DACA, a policy that would allow me to obtain a renewable temporary work permit. It was one of the happiest days of my life. Shortly after, I joined a high-tech start-up where I’ve been working with an inspiring team, determined to provide the next generation of software solutions.