While immigration reform still remains a major issue, some young people are not letting the fact that they are undocumented affect them – Ana Venegas is one of them. According to The Los Angeles Times, Venegas was brought to the United States as a 10-month-old infant across the Mexico-U.S. border. However, Venegas, 23, told the source that she has never let her status shatter her dreams.
Although she has not been able to acquire legal U.S. citizenship, Venegas currently feels enabled to live a life that is not dictated by her status. As a teenager, however, she realized that her life would be different from her friends as she was not able to legally attain a driver’s license when she turned 16, nor was she able to get a job. However, unlike many undocumented youth, she has graduated from college – Cal State Los Angeles, to be specific – which is something she feels is one of her greatest accomplishments.
“I don’t know if I would have gotten the grades that I did, or achieved what I did if I hadn’t been undocumented,” she said. “For me, school doesn’t measure your intelligence. It measures your endurance. I have a lot of endurance.”
The initiative that Venegas took toward furthering her education may help her in the future when she applies for legal status again. While President Obama’s recent immigration policy announcement halts all deportations for undocumented residents under the age of 30, it additionally provides more options for undocumented youth trying to secure legal citizenship. In order to be considered for citizenship, the immigrants must have a clean legal background and have pursued higher education or graduated high school.
Since President Obama’s announcement, other youth brought to the U.S. at a young age like Venegas are looking on the brighter side. Andrea Torres, 21, told The Seattle Times that although she is an undocumented immigrant, she feels more connected to the United States.
“I don’t consider that (Mexico) to be my home,” Torres said. “My home is here in the U.S.”