Undocumented ‘Dreamers’ in College Welcome Policy Change on Immigration
Anayely Gomez has been in the United States for so long that her only memory of Mexico is of leaving.
At 3 years old, Ms. Gomez huddled with her mother in the bed of a pickup truck crossing the border. She kept asking where they were going, though her mother urged her to be quiet.
They made part of the journey on foot, periodically ducking into prickly bushes for cover. A thorn pierced her left shoulder and lodged there; the sliver is still visible beneath the skin almost 21 years later. “It doesn’t hurt anymore,” Ms. Gomez says. “It’s just a part of me now.”
Their journey ended in New York City, where her father found work in factories and warehouses. This spring, Ms. Gomez also took a job at a factory—though, unlike her father, she has a college diploma.
Ms. Gomez, 24, is part of the generation of so-called “dreamers,” undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children—and who stand to benefit from President Obama’s decision last month to change how U.S. immigration law is enforced. Under the new policy, people who are no more than 30 years old and who were brought to the United States by their parents before the age of 16 could receive renewable, two-year deferments on any action that could lead to deportation and apply for a work permit.
Undocumented students say they are anxious to see how the policy will be put into effect—they have been disappointed by the Obama administration before. But they think it is a big step in the right direction.