Monday, December 12, 2016

American Dreamers

By Ludguin Ruiz,  Northbrook High School Student from Houston

Submitted to and published in American Dreamers, The New York Times

“Keep walking. Do not give up. We are almost there,” said my mother. At six years old, I am walking across the hot blazing desert with cracked lips praying for water. I can feel the 98 degrees of heat, the 300 tears of sweat, and the 35 miles fighting against me. I finally make it, but I still do not know what awaits me. I am simply lost in the imagination of a six-year-old excited to see his father. “El Rio Bravo,” the monster many people cross to escape the lack of education, presence of violence, and oppressive poverty is now behind me.

Eight months later, I was using a piano box as a dinner table. Three years later, I was sleeping on the floor. Four years later, I was calling a stranger my stepfather. All along I was just looking to be rescued by the “American Dream,” - the idea that hard work and determination would allow me to build a life without so many struggles. Instead of wasting time wondering if it will all be worth it, I chose to push through poverty, culture shock, and being undocumented when it would be much easier to give up. I have learned to manage the obstacles that are constantly thrown at an undocumented student. These obstacles have strengthened my character: individualism, determination, and optimism.

In August 15, 2016 President Obama commenced a policy for young people that came to the U.S. as children. The policy is known as DACA which gives an individual a two-year period deferred action from deportation and the eligibility to obtain a work permit. Finally, the light of hope began to show . DACA meant that I no longer had to minimize my success to graduating from high school. Being in the top ten percent of my graduating class is not enough for me to go to college. A class rank does not guarantee that I will be in this country tomorrow. This is why DACA is the only thing keeping my dream alive.

Now my question is, why is it that I am considered an alien? Please do not let a piece of paper define me. I grew up in this country. I pledge of allegiance to the flag. I want to go to college. I am here to stay. This is my country.


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