Dan V, 26, Seattle, WA, Born in Mexico
I’m just starting my career and believe that if I work hard, I’ll be successful. Now I put in 10-hour days in sales and marketing for an international car rental company. I have lived in the States more than half my life, long enough to believe that I can do well if I put forth the effort.
This belief is what drove me to get my college degree in political science. I graduated in 2013 from the University of Washington – on my own with no financial aid. Now I’m exploring the corporate world to see how far I can go. At some point, I’d like to teach at a college, but there is time for me to find my niche and there are many career paths open to me.
Though I’ve had no official mentor, I look to successful Latinos as role models for my direction. I want to make a difference and become a better person as I pursue my career. I’m always aware of how much my parents sacrificed to bring me and my sister to this country. They believed in fresh starts and second chances and so do I.
Since I was brought to the U.S. when I was 11, I qualified for DACA and have used my deferred status to find better employment. But DACA is not enough. I love this country, and through my struggle to make a life here, I truly appreciate all the opportunities afforded me. I earn my way and believe I’m as American as those who are born here. I just don’t have the right papers. It’s a hard thing to tell people that I’m not legal. How can a person not be legal? I have done nothing wrong. Most don’t understand my situation, and at this point, I really don’t understand the concept myself — this ongoing limbo status that keeps me forever uncertain about my place in this country. I believe I’ve earned my citizenship and that I should be recognized for my accomplishments and contributions.