My name is Lester Alexander Fox Rosales and I was born in San José, Costa Rica, in 1994. I came to the United States on a tourist visa at the age of 15, along with my mother and my younger brother. After doing three years of high school, I was accepted into UCLA and I decided to major in Biology. I was fortunate enough to be able to receive financial aid almost from the beginning of my studies. However as my first year ended suddenly the fact that I do not qualify for deferred action began impacting me more in my life. Up to that point having financial aid was enough for me, however as I started looking for employment opportunities, internships, and graduate school opportunities I realized that not having DACA is a big barrier. Particularly because without it I cannot be legally employed; this has had many implications so far, the main one of which is myself thinking about leaving the country for graduate school. Because I lack a work permit, I would not be able to TA while in graduate school in this country, therefore funding for graduate schools would be more challenging. As a result of this most of the scientists I have contacted for graduate school purposes are from outside the United States. Without DACA I am reaching the conclusion that my stay in the U.S. will not last for long, very soon I will likely be in another country starting all over again.
My name is Alma Alvarado and I am currently a junior here at UCLA.
I come from a tiny rural area called El Palmito, San Dimas, Durango, Mexico. My parents and my older brothers used to work in agriculture. Agriculture in Mexico is an arduous job that pays very little. Faced with this economic struggle, my parents knew that our lives would not improve there and decided to immigrate to California in search of opportunities. Once in Planada, CA my parents had a very difficult time adjusting to the lifestyle here and decided to go back to Mexico; however, they wanted the best for me and my education. I stayed behind with my older brother serving as my legal guardian. As the youngest of seven siblings my family wanted at least me to receive an education and pursue my dreams, an opportunity that my older siblings lacked because of our economic situation. Even at 13 years old I was conscious of the enormous sacrifice that we as a family were making, however I did not consider giving up school to return to El Palmito because I believe that if I succeed my family will also succeed with me. As most of you understand the transitional period as well as learning a new language is very difficult and not having my parent by my side made it worse. Mentally I have suffered a lot having to grow up on my own, socially I have made myself stronger by fortifying true friendships that help us ease the pain of not having my parents here with me, economically I am unable to provide for myself and I understand that my family cannot help me either. As a non-DACA recipient there are not that many resources available to me. Every year I exhaust my resources, but make do with what I have. I understand that my situation is not ideal and I wish that I would not have to struggle economically, but I am so grateful for where I am that no struggle can equate the blessings that I have received and will receive. I thank my IDEAS family for their support, I thank my personal friends and family for their love and compassion.