Sandra Cortez, a first-year Nursing Major student at Goshen College, who shared her thoughts about being a DACA student:When did you receive DACA?
“I received DACA about three years ago after I finally got approved for it.”
How has having DACA impacted your life?
“It has opened many doors and possibilities such as continuing my education, allowing me to drive and to work. Also, DACA has helped me to stop relying so heavily on parents and become independent.”
What motivates you to be where you are today?
“I do it for myself. I like seeing myself do new and better things that will help later achieve my future goals.”
Did having DACA affect the decision of where you wanted to go to undergraduate school? If so why?
“It really did. Many colleges don’t offer scholarships for students who are undocumented. Sadly, many scholarships have the criteria for you to be a citizen in order to apply for those scholarships. I was looking to apply to Bethel to play lacrosse but they simply don’t offer any scholarships for Hispanics. Goshen College offered me the Dream scholarship, which is a full tuition scholarship for students who are undocumented.”
If you could have a chance to speak to President Trump what would you say and why?
“I would tell him that I am really against what he has to say. I would encourage him to, for once, put himself in our shoes. As Hispanics we are signaled as job takers, criminals, rapists or whatever other names he has for us, when in reality we are here to make a better living for ourselves not for anyone else.We want to live the so famous American dream.We want to expand our way of living we don’t want to get stuck in one place just cause we aren’t from here.”
What do you think would be the outcome of your life if DACA really is terminated?
All those possibilities such as driving and working would be torn away from me. It would make coming to college a lot harder. But honestly I wouldn’t feel safe anymore, I wouldn’t want to be here anymore.
Have you ever had problems with identifying yourself as a DACA student ?
Sometimes it is hard. Some people are quick to judge. I fear the reaction of people after I tell them .
Would you still support DACA if you didn’t need it?
Yeah, of course. It helped me at one point in my life and why not offer that same help to others.I like seeing other dreamers achieve their goals thanks to DACA.
Do you ever regret coming to the United States?
No. I know that I probably wouldn’t be able to receive the education that I have and am receiving. Or maybe I would’ve but it would be a lot harder because over in Mexico they see scholarships as a poor people thing not as an achievement.
Do you feel like people see you differently once you tell them that you are a DACA student?
Yeah, some people think that I am completely different from them simply because I don’t have the same legal status as they do.
What would you change about government policies dealing with immigration?
I would have them establish a law where it focused on those undocumented students who want to pursue their careers, but often don’t the chance to thrive in an environment where they feel safe to thrive here in the United States.