“Layla” of University of Houston is TheDream.US’ “DREAMer of the Week”
By Sadhana Singh August 27, 2020
For Immediate Release: August 27, 2020
Contact: Carli Kientzle at [email protected]
“Camila” of Texas A&M San Antonio and Sheyla of University of North Texas at Dallas are TheDream.US’ “DREAMers of the Week”
Washington, DC – TheDream.US, the nation’s largest college access and success program for undocumented immigrant youth, is continuing its “DREAMer of the Week” feature – a weekly profile of a TheDream.US Scholar whose story offers a powerful example of the incalculable contributions of DREAMers to America.
This week’s DREAMer is “Layla,” a Scholar of University of Houston:
Without TheDream.US, I would be working a minimum wage job, probably with minor skills and little to no intellectual knowledge of jobs that require the growth this country needs. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue my education. And DACA has allowed me to work and live freely without fear of being deported from the only country I’ve ever seen as home.
As a result of my hard work and dedication, I am on my way to becoming the first person in my family to attend a university, something I view with immense pride. I work hard in school and at a part-time job, and I am proof of the success that can come when you put your faith in the hard-working immigrant community.
When I came to the U.S., I was just 3 years old. I didn’t speak any English at all when I was young, and I had to learn it all throughout elementary school. The culture assimilation was a lengthy process, and I only really began adjusting to it at the end of middle school. By assimilating, I have learned to implement parts of American culture into my life without forgetting my roots. It was tough at first, but, as I began to know the language and the people, I learned to embrace my American identity. I’ve always viewed the US as home. I see it as the only country I’ve ever lived in. I don’t remember Mexico, I just know of the culture I experienced through my family while living here. The United States has and always will be home.
I wish people who were unsure about DACA and TPS would actually talk to DACA recipients. We are everywhere. We are the employees that serve you in stores. We are the students that you see in colleges. We are just as good as other citizens and do not represent any negative attributes. DACA students like me want to succeed in this country. We want to benefit our communities and country. We are focused on becoming better residents of this country. I want to help the community and businesses that I am involved with. It is my duty to better my life and that of those around me by making the communities I live in better.
TheDream.US has provided over 6,500 college scholarships to DREAMers at more than 70 partner colleges in 16 states and Washington, DC.
The Scholars’ stories are especially powerful and poignant following the Supreme Court oral arguments on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an executive action, which provided temporary legal protection for undocumented youth, terminated by President Trump in September 2017. The legal limbo and uncertainty is affecting Scholars’ lives, health, and futures and threatens to keep Scholars from fulfilling their incredible potential.
- Read through TheDream.US Scholar story-bank, featuring powerful personal reflections from Scholars about their lives, journeys, and future goals here
- Hear from two TheDream.US graduates, now working as a teacher and a nurse, discussing the impact of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program online here
- Watch a new video featuring TheDream.US college graduates online here