A dream come true

May 14, 2014

DREAM Act: Two words that mean a lot for many immigrants who migrated to the United States in hopes of a better life as well as a set future. Not only do they do this for themselves, but for their families as well. There are many obstacles that hinder their road to a better life, though. They are not able to apply for jobs or enroll in universities, regardless of their intelligence. This is simply because of where they came from.

The DREAM Act is a bill that would grant permanent residency to some immigrants, who have lived their lives here obeying the law, with a clean record, and have graduated from high school in the United States, having lived here for at least five years since being minors.

One of the people writing this article is also a dreamer, so there is no better person to tell you about the struggle we have all been through. Behind some of our faces lies a burden on the heart that only a DREAMER can describe.

It’s like being in prison; We feel so trapped because our wings will only spread so far, and then we’re forced to stillness. That is how many undocumented dreamers feel.

This is why there is a club at El Camino called “Dreamers Ahead.” Its purpose is to provide dreamers with all of the necessary information needed to get ahead in this country.

In the club, dreamers meet up on a weekly basis to put their minds together and figure out ways in which they can grow in their education and community.

Kayla Arango, 22, business major, is the president of “Dreamers Ahead,” and has been for about two years. She arrived to the United States eight years ago, migrating from Colombia at the age of 14.

“The DREAM Act has enabled me to take my next step in education,” Arango said. “As I get ready to transfer out of El Camino, I don’t see how that would have been possible without the financial sid that I have received to pay for my college courses. That same economic help will be there to cover my tuition once I start attending a university.”

Like many other dreamers, she stays motivated by thinking of her family and younger siblings. The club is something meaningful, not only to her, but to other people.

The main goal of the club is to let people know the resources available to dreamers. Edgar Carpinteyro, 24, history major, has been in the club for about a year. When he transfers out of El Camino, he still plans to be involved with and help the club.

He joined because he saw opportunities to help others as well as to learn more on the movement. He said, “The club gives you more confidence knowing there are other people in the same situation as well. Knowing they want to succeed motivates you to want to succeed as well and be successful together as a community.”

Another member of “Dreamers Ahead” is Arango’s sister, Marimar Arango, 20, sociology major. To her, the DREAM Act is a big help for those who are not considered U.S. citizens, and is a sign of hope that things can change for immigrants.

The DREAM Act has helped her with her financial struggles, allowing her to continue studying and working hard.

“The DREAM Act has helped me a lot. If it was not for the DREAM Act, I probably would not go to school because I couldn’t afford it, and I’m sure that is the situation for many other undocumented students,” Marimar Arango said.

She has been in the club for about a year and a half, following in her sister’s footsteps. Her sister gave her knowledge and going to the meetings interested her, as she learned a lot more about the issues immigrants face.

With the DREAM Act only being in California, Marimar Arango wants to be able to speak for immigrants in other states who don’t have the opportunity to speak out. She is hoping that the DREAM Act expands so others have the same learning opportunities to better their lives.

“They are not alone. I have met other dreamers who thought they were alone. They shouldn’t be ashamed to be considered a dreamer, but carry the title with pride,” Marimar Arango said. “Try to get involved and inform others. Unite as one club, and spread the word to those not aware of it.”

Dreamers, to be defined in the easiest terms, are people who wait for something almost impossible to change their life. It can be a woman who waits for her prince charming to come and change her life, or a young aspiring actor waiting for his big break, or perhaps a singer or songwriter who just wants to be heard.

Dreamers are our own classmates, whom we sit next to. They do their homework. They know the answers to all of the questions our teachers ask us and some even tutor us.

Life for a dreamer is very difficult, especially in high school and college when they are discovering who they really are.

While in high school, Kayla Arango said that she did not have many friends and was not as social as she is now. In high school, no one knew that she was undocumented, but once she told her friends about her “identity,” she felt as though the truth had set her free, and she could be the person she was destined to be, and not someone who had to hide her true colors.

A message that Kayla Arango has for all the dreamers that are still struggling is to not give up and create long term goals. There is always a way to accomplish your goals and make your dreams a reality.

“Don’t be afraid. Don’t give up on your educational goals,” Kayla Arango said. “Even though it takes time, it’s worth the sacrifice and patience.”

To those who oppose the DREAM Act, she wants them to know that the dreamers are not asking for open borders. They are looking for a compromise and an immigration reform.

Kayla Arango’s dreams are slowly coming true. She has applied to UCSD and UCSB. She is someone who is inspiring a community of young students, not only by being the president of “Dreamers Ahead,” but she also gives speeches at high schools, and writes for the Spanish newspaper La Prensa in Riverside.

It should be taken as a learning opportunity, where we can learn from one another. Why be limited by race and nationality? That would be like deterring others for having a past, something we all have in common.

I am a firm believer in the American dream, and grateful that my parents packed my suitcase for me when I was eight years old and decided to move to the United States.

There is not one day where I wake up without thanking the universe for allowing me to live in such a great country, regardless of all of its problems, and the negative impact the media gives to the United States. This is a country of entrepreneurs, entertainers, and people who cannot survive without each other.

In the end, I guess you can call us all dreamers, for we are not the only ones with dreams, but everyone else has their own as well.