Define American

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Martin: U.S.-born American citizen denied opportunities because of mother's fluky undocumented status

| Testimonial

I'm in the process of helping a young man I mentor. He's trying to go to college, but the odds are stacked up against him because of his mother's undocumented status--yes, his mother's, not his. He is a U.S.-born American citizen, yet he is being denied opportunities available to all other American, college-bound students because of his mother's status. For example, he has been denied tuition assistance from programs like D.C. LEAP and D.C. TAG, which are designed to help young people in his difficult financial situation. He is also not eligible for in-state tuition and loan programs like Parent PLUS for the same reason.

Without this extra obstacle, this young man already had it as tough as it gets: growing up in tough neighborhoods where his chances of landing in jail, gangbangin,' or getting into drugs were far higher than getting a high school diploma (nevermind a college degree). Yet, he has been accepted to Virginia State University.

We are looking at various options for him, including applying for opportunities as an independent person (even though he is only 19). This just does not seem right. Young people in his predicament should be treated better than this. To me, it seems like another form of discrimination, not to mention a systemic way of denying first-generation immigrants (even if legal) a right to their American Dream. This needs to be fixed.

Of note, his mother is only undocumented because the young man's father and her husband died when before her paperwork could be finalized. His father was documented.

 

from Martin
submitted to Define American on July 6, 2011 at 17:05

We hope to share more stories that "define American" and beg critical questions about the state of immigration in our country. Submit your story here. Names are changed to maintain anonymity.

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