My name is Estefania Rodriguez. I was born in Mexico and came to the US at the age of 2. I lived in Dallas, TX my whole life. I attended Texas A&M University-Commerce. I graduated in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in political science and a minor in International Studies/Spanish. My first job was working for a non-profit in Dallas, Refugee Services of Texas as an Immigration Legal Assistant. I helped refugees navigate the immigration system, and that's how my compassion for refugees began. I recently started a new job at the Equal Justice Center in Dallas, TX, that hit home for me. I work as a Paralegal Community Advocate for the organization; we focus on bringing justice to undocumented workers who are exploited or discriminated against in the workplace.
As a DREAMer, I've faced the challenge of uncertainty and fear. I know hands-on the feeling of having a family member be ripped away from me because of deportation. At the age of 14, I knew what it felt like to face the traumas and effects that deportation has on undocumented families.
Despite struggles, limitations, and uncertainty a big achievement for me is that I am the first generation college student in my family. My family always told me that I couldn't go to college because of my legal status. It took a huge toll on me but thanks to a 2001 state law in Texas, it would allow me, an undocumented student to pay in-state tuition as long as I proved I had lived in Texas for more than three years. I also graduated from my university debt-free through private scholarships and my parent’s sacrifices! Today, thanks to DACA I have a full-time job, I bought my first car, I got my driver’s license, and I was able to travel to Italy through advanced parole for educational purposes during my undergrad year. And now, I plan on continuing my education by going to law school and becoming an immigration lawyer.
Another dream of mine is to help my parents pay off their home and continue to contribute to them financially! I also dream of visiting my country of birth, Mexico, and reunite with my family. And ultimately continue my advocacy for refugees and immigrants across the world one day!
MY DREAMS ARE ENDLESS.
Download Estefania’s and other Dreamer’s posters for print here.