Viridiana is in JROTC at Enloe High. Her dream is to join the Navy.

Viridiana is in JROTC at Enloe High. Her dream is to join the Navy.

I’m undocumented: my parents brought me, my brother, and my sister to the United States when I was only 7 years old. We were looking for a better life. I remember when we first got here I was very excited about learning a new language but more than anything to see my father again.

The excitement only lasted a couple of years though because around when I turned 10, we stopped going out. You know, the things all families do: dine out or go to the mall or take trips to the beach. It was all because my father’s driver’s license had expired and we couldn’t risk driving around because he could get pulled over at any time. My mother lost her job and wasn’t able to get a new one because she doesn’t have a social security number – she’s also undocumented. Soon my brother and sister graduated from high school, but they couldn’t keep on with their education because they were undocumented as well.

Little by little, I realized what having “no lawful status” means. My plans, my dreams of joining the army or becoming a psychologist were fading away because I knew there was no way of moving forward with my life and going to college is going to be almost impossible. It seemed as if, as soon as I got out of high school, I would be stuck flipping burgers for the rest of my illegal life. I used this as an excuse for not doing well in school. In fact, going to school became pointless for me and I’m pretty sure for many others like me too. We don’t drop out because we don’t want to be in school. We give up because we don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.

This is my last year of high school and I thank God for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Now after high school, just like my other friends with papers, I will have the luxury of several job options. I look forward to attending college or joining the Navy and obtaining a driver’s license. My senior year has been totally different from what I expected it to be: I have joined the JROTC program at Enloe High! I have better grades in my classes because I now look forward to a better future.

Viridiana at the We Need Our License Back rally at the NCDOT.

Viridiana at the We Need Our License Back rally at the NCDOT.

There is, however, one part of the licenses we’re going to be issued that I don’t really like. The North Carolina DMV has decided to mark the licenses of DACA beneficiaries with a pink stripe on top and other unnecessary labels that make our licenses look different from the rest. I think this difference will only create situations that will often lead to ethnic prejudice every time we need to show our licenses. It’s possible that the authorities will use our distinctive license against us.

Although my license will be looking different from those of my friends, I am still very thankful that I’ll be able to drive legally in North Carolina, and not only me but my siblings too. This license will make the state of North Carolina safer by letting us drive legally and authorized. To me the color and “No Lawful Status” label added to the license won’t stop me from getting one; they could even make our licenses triangle shaped, rainbow colored or any other thing to mark a difference between us and those with papers. As long as I can drive, work, go to college and accomplish my goals legally in this state, that is what matters.

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