Here is the story of Justino Mora, a DREAMer who came to the U.S. illegally from Mexico. Justino came here with his mother and siblings. They came here in 2000 in order to escape poverty in their home country. One other reason for his family to flee their home country was because his father was a very abusive person. Justino’s mother always wanted to run from her abusive husband. But his father used to threaten his mother saying that he would kill her if she left him.
However, his mother made a brave decision to move to America. She did so as she believed that she can work here and bring up Justino and his siblings. She also wanted her children to get a better life and did not want poverty in Mexico to ruin their lives. Just like the other immigrants, Justino’s mother believed that the U.S. is a great nation that welcomes immigrants. However, she was not able to get into the country legally so she chose to cross the border illegally with her children.
Justino, a DREAMer had always dreamed about becoming an aerospace engineer. He also received admission letters for his dream program, aerospace engineering from top schools in the U.S. like U.C. Berkeley and Cal Poly. For Justino, the hardest part was going to college as he knew he will have to pay everything out of his own pocket. He was aware that he will not qualify for financial aid due to his undocumented status. This made him unhappy despite receiving letters of acceptance from top colleges.
Justino, who had been living here as an undocumented immigrant, applied for deferred action status under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. He received this temporary immigration status two years ago. DACA did not only protect him from deportation but also allowed him to go to school. Justino is now studying at UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles).
Though DACA status has given him temporary immigration protections, Justino says that DACA is not enough as it does not confer any permanent immigration status upon him. Moreover, his mother, who has sacrificed a lot for him and his siblings, is still living with fear of deportation. DACA only protects him from deportation and does not protect his mother and siblings. He says that there is no way for his mother to pursue legal status in America.
Justino is the co-founder of Push4Reform, a web application that helps people understand what their Representatives’ stance on immigration reform is. The app also lets people communicate with their Representatives.
According to him, the whole immigration system of the U.S. must be overhauled. Justino and many like him want to lead a normal life in the U.S. just like the others living here legally. They wish to go to college and finish their education. They also love to work in this great nation. All who come here believe that America has the greatest people and atmosphere. Most of them come here with high hopes. According to Justino and the others like him, the time for immigration reform is now!