This story is of an average person. From the first glance it is a story of thousands of young people who live, attend college and work in United States. Although, many can relate to events of this story, this story gives a small peek into the lives of young undocumented immigrants, who, thanks to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program, also referred to as DACA, these individuals received a once in a lifetime chance to improve their lives and the lives of the people around them.
Priscilla Muller is one of those fortunate young immigrants. Muller is 19 years old and she attends Black Hawk College in Moline, Ill. Like thousands of other young undocumented immigrants called “Dreamers”, she came to the United States with her mother when she was only 6 years old. But unlike thousands of other undocumented young immigrants she entered this country with a passport in her hand, she entered legally. At first, her mother and little Priscilla lived with her aunt’s family in Gainesville, Ga. There her mother got married and Priscilla’s family began to grow with the addition of her little brother and a little sister.
Muller and her family were going through joys and hardships like any other immigrant family who came to this country in search of better future for themselves and their children. Unfortunately, emotions were changing in Georgia. People were changing their attitudes towards immigrants, and not for the better. Priscilla’s family decided it was time to leave that state.
“Georgia was so bad for everybody in my family that we chose to move to Illinois for a better future,” Priscilla explains.
Priscilla’s life was going on in a usual manner, but suddenly huge news shook the whole United States when President Obama announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program in June of 2012. The whole country was discussing the news. Many young immigrants were in shock and disbelief. It seemed like the wait was finally over and the long promised dream was about to become reality.
“When I first heard about Deferred Action, I was in shock. I always had hoped that someday things would change, so when I started hearing about the Deferred Action I could not believe it. I thought it was a dream,” Priscilla says.
This dream, that seemed to be difficult to reach, was finally close for many young undocumented immigrants. Priscilla Muller gathered her papers and went to Casa Guanajuato – a community organization serving the Hispanic community in Moline – where a lawyer helped her to fill out the federal application and helped her through every step of the way.
“When I finally received my work permit in the mail, I started to cry. It is the biggest blessing I have received,” Priscilla says.
Her feelings are the feelings of thousands of undocumented immigrants. Most of these young Dreamers jumped at the opportunity to improve their legal status and most importantly improve their lives. Many started college, other continue their education and almost all of them work to pay for their studies. Priscilla is currently attending Black Hawk College and plans to continue her studies in Western Illinois University. Her goal is to become an elementary school teacher in the future.
She now works in Ascentra Credit Union in Moline which helps her pay for her education.
“Priscilla provides a unique perspective to Ascentra family because she knows the struggles that some of our Hispanic members have gone through; she has been there.” Community Development Coordinator Alvaro Macias says. “It’s a good feeling to know that she chose us to be her first employer, we have really gained the trust of our Hispanic community by following our principals of listening, caring, doing what’s right.”
Priscilla’s story is a reflection of thousands of similar stories of undocumented immigrants from all over the country. They didn’t choose to overstay their visas, or enter the country through clandestine ways; they simply were brought by their parents who wanted to give them a better life. They now know that dreams do come true. They have a whole world of opportunities in front of them. What they will do with their lives and how they take these opportunities is entirely up to them, but the whole country is watching and other undocumented immigrants are now looking at them for inspiration and hope.