Someone Like Me
By Julissa Arce
An estimated 800,000 young people who were brought
to the United States as children applied for a government
program called DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood
Arrivals) since it was established in 2012. DACA made it
possible for young people to work legally and allowed
them to stay in America despite not being U.S. citizens or
having valid visas. Like me, they came to the United States
through no choice of their own.
About the Author
Some of them made the journey with their parents when they
were babies, and others came to be reunited with their parents as
young children. Like me, they grew up in America, went to school,
and felt American in every way. They are known as Dreamers.
After many years of living in Mexico without my parents, I came
to live with them in Texas. While I had no say in coming to
America, I thank my parents for bringing me here so that I
could have a better life.
My story has a happy ending. I am now a
United States Citizen. I do not have to worry
about being separated from my family.
Sadly, the 800,000 Dreamers who applied
for the DACA program do not know how
their story will end. In September 2017,
the DACA program was terminated and
suddenly their future became very
uncertain. Without DACA, Dreamers
cannot work, drive, and in some cases,
go to school. Most importantly, Dreamers
are at risk of being deported and separated
from their families.
I originally wrote my story as an adult
memoir called My (Underground) American
Dream to shed light on the plight of undocumented
people and to put a human face on the issue of
immigration—a topic that tends to be very controversial.
I also wanted to share my story with young readers because
my own journey in America began when I was only 11 years old.
Perhaps some of your classmates or their parents are Dreamers too.
Someone Like Me is a story about strength and never giving up on
your dreams even when the odds are stacked against you. It is about
believing in yourself and deeply knowing that you are enough and
that you belong.
Dreamers have not given up. They have fought for their right to
live and thrive in the United States by marching to the nation’s
capital, organizing phone calls to Congress, and by sharing their
amazing and unique stories with the American people. This book
is dedicated to them.
My hope is that by reading Someone Like Me, you will be
empowered to pursue your dreams and that you will
know that no matter how difficult things might
be, there is always a way. Keep pushing
forward and never give up on you.
Author Julissa Arce is a CNBC
and Crooked media contributor,
writer, speaker, and social justice
advocate. She is the cofounder
and chairman of the Ascend
Educational Fund, a college
scholarship and mentorship
program that assists immigrant
students, regardless of their
immigration status, ethnicity, or
national origin. Julissa is also a board
member for the National Immigration
Law Center and for College Spring. Prior
to becoming an advocate, she built a successful
career on Wall Street working at Goldman Sachs and
Merrill Lynch. Visit her at www.julissarce.com and on Twitter at
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38 www.latinastyle.com LATINAStyle Vol. 24, No. 5, 2018