Thirteen years is a very long time. Thirteen years is a little over half my life. Thirteen years is how long I have called America my home. And it has taken that long for me to finally feel a certain weight off my shoulders. Being a DREAMer has been a long road. Not only have the simplest things in life proven to be an obstacle but also discouraging because knowing that my life was in the hands of strangers on Capitol Hill was a hard pill to swallow.
Albeit, it has been difficult to be barred from holding a driver’s license, traveling abroad, or receiving scholarships, however, the hardest part has been lying to those around me to ward off their questions. After having moved across the United States and seeing and doing the things I have, the last thing I want to do is lie to others and not be true to myself. But naturally, there was nothing I could legally do to pursue my American Dream.
Despite all I have been through, I have learned that hard work and a little patience pays off. Maintaining a keen interest and excelling in academia, focusing on my long-term life goals, and legally abiding by the law since moving here, I hope to prove a value for this country—in the work force or through community service. I believe giving back is one of the most important things a human being can do and I want to give America everything I’ve got. My family may have planted seeds in this country differently, but we have grown to be Americans like the rest of the nation.
The passage of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy has been a blessing. I can now build a life in a country I have called home for so long. And prove to America that we immigrants are needed in the success of an ever-changing nation.
* Fernanda DeSouza entered the U.S. at age 7 from Brazil. At 20 years old, she is pursuing her BS in Advertising & Marketing Communications and English.