Campus

The American Pipe Dream: Undocumented students' fate under Trump

As Donald Trump becomes America's 45th president, undocumented college students known as dreamers may soon be forced to give up everything they have.
(Aiken Lao )

Under the Donald Trump presidency, undocumented college students have a lot to lose — their education and possibly even their homes.

These students, often referred to as The Dreamers, are part of a fragile minority in the United States — a group whose very freedoms lie at the whims changing governmental immigration policy.

Katherine Juarez, Judith Rosales Rivas, and Carlos Miranda are three undocumented students who constantly live in fear. Many, like them, were smuggled into the U.S. as kids.


Because of their immigration status, they grew up without papers — which meant no social insurance number and in turn, no college.

Until President Barack Obama proposed the Dream Act in 2012 and with it, a pathway to citizenship.

The Dream Act never made it to law, so Obama introduced DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) under it they could apply for driver's licenses, work permits and protection from deportation.

If I was not undocumented I would be able go to Carolina. I would be in the honours program in Carolina. I would be a successful student in Carolina.

After years of working hard, Katherine Juarez got into her dream school. However her elation was quickly dulled when she realized she couldn't afford to go. College was still a pipe dream...

Until DACA allowed her to receive a scholarship.

For the first time in their lives, Katherine and other undocumented students were able to start planning for their future.


But President Trump plans to repeal this executive order. His vitriolic stance on immigration has many lives hanging in the balance. 

(CBC Campus)

Carlos Miranda is one of them. His dreams of becoming an immigration lawyer were finally coming true under DACA. Now with its repeal looming, he's left preparing for the worst, shadowed in doubt, and mired in the unknown.


Judith Rosalas Rivas is like many others who dream for a better life — it's not just about her own life but for the betterment of her entire community. 

Me being in college is the realization of the American Dream.

"If I am able to use this education for something good to help others out, to help my family, to help my country… then I've made it."


 EXTRA | Fernando Garcia, the founder of Border Network for Human Rights, has been fighting for years to change immigration laws in the U.S. One of his initiatives is called Hugs Not Walls. It allows separated families members to briefly meet at the American-Mexican border - many of whom haven't seen in each other in years. Hear what it's like for Fernando to witness such uplifting, yet painful moments between these fractured families. 

This interview was done in the aftermath of the election on November 9, 2016. 

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