I'm a DREAMer and I'm Just as American as Anyone Else

On Tuesday, September 5, 2017, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, most commonly known as DACA, was rescinded. I cannot overstate the impact this announcement has had on my family and me. I was brought to the United States by my parents when I was 1 year old. They fled Guatemala in pursuit of a country that would significantly improve our quality of life. I’m grateful for their journey—it gave me the opportunity to grow up in and contribute to this country. My country. The only country I’ve ever called home. In 2012, DACA was created and my world changed. For the first time, I felt that my ability to achieve my goals could become a reality. I applied to be a DACA recipient. The process was long and I had to meet  a number of requirements to even be considered. In fact, every two years, when I renew my DACA status I am scrutinized in a way that documented Americans simply are not. Contrary to what many think, this is not easy. I am also a proud senior at Blackstone Valley Prep (BVP). I am ready to graduate from high school in 2018 and be the first in my family to graduate from college in 2022, even though I am not eligible for most aid to support this dream. I’m spending my final year as a BVP senior enrolled in college full-time. I was accepted into  Running Start at the Community College of Rhode Island, a dual enrollment program that offers high school students the opportunity to earn college credit before high school graduation. I’ve worked hard to get here and continue to work hard to prove myself. I share my story because there are too many misleading narratives about DACA recipients and the broader undocumented community. We are as American as our friends, neighbors and colleagues.
An original version of this post appeared on Good School Hunting as My Country. The Only Country I’ve Ever Called Home..
Edy Pineda is a senior at Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academy in Central Falls, Rhode Island. He is a recipient of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and he speaks on behalf of immigrants like him.

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