Every time I tell a person where I was born they don't believe it. I was born in Mexico and I am a DREAMer. When I share this with people the first response I get is, "WHAT?! You don't look like you were born in Mexico!" Well, how am I supposed to look?

Mexico, lindo y querido- this is the country I left at age 7, now a foreign nation to me. I am now 19 and for the past 12 years, I have called The United States home. I have spent most of my life here, I grew up here and I plan to stay.

Migrating here was a choice made for me, I had no say in coming. My mother was a single mom trying to give me and my two older sisters a life full of opportunity, a good life. Something she never had. My mother left her homeland, my homeland, with nothing but the clothes she carried, determined to prosper in this new country where hard work could make even our most wild dreams possible.

Now, this is my home. California is my state. San Joaquin my neighborhood. Fresno State my university. The United States, the land I grew up in.

About a week after I arrived in the U.S I started 2nd grade, not knowing a single word in English. I graduated from high school in 2016, and I am now attending Fresno State University, majoring in Mass Communications and Journalism. I aspire to pursue a career in Public Relations and work for a major company in a big city.

I don’t mean to say that the way I think should be everyone’s way of thinking. However, when I graduated high school I graduated among many talented American citizens who had all the opportunities that being born in the U.S. are naturally granted to them. Although those opportunities weren’t given to me, I still took the initiative to work hard for something better. Some of my classmates with an American passport had plans to gradate and enter the workforce with no education.

I applied to a four-year university and got in. I go to school and work at the same time in the hopes that in 2020 I’ll be graduating from college with a Bachelor’s degree. By then, my work permit would be expired already so I don’t know if I’ll be able to work with my degree. I pay taxes and I contribute to the economy of MY beloved country. If this isn’t being an American, I don’t know what it is.

I thank the Obama administration for letting a ray of shine into the lives of 800,000 DREAMers like me. The Dream Act is the reason why I am able to attend a university, have a drivers license, and a work permit to work legally in the United States. Now that U.S president Donald Trump has ended this program, my fate is uncertain. Nevertheless, I continue to hope for a Clean Dream Act.