Undocumented Immigrant Is Working to Help Others Achieve the American Dream*
By Amelia Kinney
This activist has been in the US for almost 20 years, but if Trump overturns DACA, she could be deported.
Ana Rodriguez with a student. Credit: Cole Kazdin via Vice
Ana Rodriguez* is helping undocumented immigrant kids have the American dream. Rodriguez spent most of her life as an undocumented immigrant student in the public school system in L.A., until she was given a chance to stay in the U.S. legally by the Obama administration’s adoption of the DACA policy (deferred action for childhood arrivals) in 2012.
Born in Irapuato, Mexico, Ana came to the United States illegally with her parents in 1999, when she was five years old. She has two younger siblings that were born in the U.S. and have citizenship.
“Being undocumented was a huge part of my life,” Rodriguez, now 22, told Vice.
“Especially in high school. I saw all my friends getting into colleges and I was over here—with a 4.1 GPA, 100 hours of community service—I got accepted to so many places but I couldn’t go because I didn’t qualify for financial aid.”
Through the 2012 DACA policy, Rodriguez was finally able to apply for permissions to stay in the country legally. Although the policy did not make her eligible for federal aid, and she has to renew her permission every two years, Rodriguez is now able to live and work in the U.S. without fear of deportation. Unfortunately, DACA may be overturned by the Trump Administration.
Rodriguez currently works as a case manager with EduCare, an afterschool program for low-income kids. She helps other Latino DREAMers— a name for kids who meet the general requirements of the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. Rodriguez is also attending graduate school to earn a masters degree in school counseling.
Rodriguez also wants to help kids have a better quality of life, and assists them with receiving resources like food, clothing and a safe place to sleep. Rodriguez experienced firsthand the domestic issues that drive many kids to drop out of school or become homeless.
“If a student knows they are going to be homeless, they’re not going to be thinking about the answer to ‘3x = y = 26.’ They’re going to be thinking: I need to get a job.”
*Not her real name.