Obstacles deter many students headed to college

In 1987, Diana Monroy emigrated to the United States at just 10 months old. Her family settled in Miami, the place where she would be raised and attend high school. Immersed in American culture her entire childhood, she hit a roadblock at age 18.

“It finally hit me when I was 18. I couldn’t go to college, I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t do a lot of things other kids would do,” Monroy said.

“I couldn’t understand why my mom wouldn’t let me go to prom, or grad bash, or out of state and do what other kids could do.”

A decade later, Monroy remains undocumented in the United States. However, she pays in-state tuition to attend Miami Dade College, which, along with Florida International University, was one of a few institutions to do so before the law demanded it.

As a college freshman, Monroy sees the need for progressive change in coming years.

“I want to see more immigration reform in the future, not only for DREAMers but for a lot of people,” Monroy said.

Most DREAMers across the southeast region of the United States would like to see broad changes in immigration policy; not only to lay a foundation for the future of DREAMers, but also for the well-being of undocumented immigrants residing in America.

Dulce Guerrero, 21, was brought to the United States without documents when she was two years old from the central Mexico city of Tepic.

In 2011, she graduated from high school in Woodstock, Ga., where she said she became disenchanted watching her friends get driver’s licenses, summer jobs and college scholarships.

“I became depressed and angry, causing me to withdraw both physically and emotionally from my friends and family,” Guerrero said.

To try to figure out her future, Guerrero said she started visiting the staircase behind her high school with “a spectacular view.”

“As I sat there one day, my mother’s words constantly echoed in my head: ‘If you want a better life, you need to pursue higher education,’ ” she recalled.

While searching for colleges to apply to, Guerrero said she discovered that she could not afford tuition and expenses. That’s when she heard about the DREAM Act.

“While I researched, I scrolled through stories of students across the U.S. going through very similar situations, stories they had courageously written and decided to share with the world,” Guerrero said.

“I would stay up at night with tears in my eyes reading these stories, exhilarated by the sense of hope and relief they gave me. These stories empowered me to get up and get active.”

While Guerrero’s mother knew she could be held in detention, then deported because of her status as an undocumented immigrant, daughter Dulce Guerrero worried for her whole family except her little brother who was born in the United States.

Then she channeled her fears to connect with people all over the world through a social networking campaign called “I Am Taking Action in Georgia.”

“My name is Dulce. I am undocumented and I am no longer afraid. I am taking action,” she posted on the website COLORLINES, News for Action. On her Facebook page, Guerrero now has 1,968 friends.

Her most recent Facebook post July 1 was a photo of U.S. Border Patrol buses filled with children who had crossed into the U.S. without papers. The ABC News caption said they were en route to a processing center near San Diego.

“My heart doesn’t always break,” Guerrero said, “but when it does, it’s for these kids at the border.”