My name is Laura Quiñones Scheidel, I'm 19 years old, and I was born in Santa Cruz, Bolivia on March 10th, 1998. I immigrated to the U.S when I was two years old with my parents and older brother (who was five at the time) in the year 2000; my younger brother was born soon after in 2004. My family had quickly formed a new life here. Silver Spring, MD is my home, and it's all I've ever known. Before immigrating to the U.S., my mom had requested a tourist VISA for the four of us, and my family was fortunate enough to receive them. When I ask my parents now what finalized their decision, they’ve answered me by saying that they realized they could give my brother and I a better future here than they ever could have in Bolivia. Now, as a young adult, I can see how the political turmoil and poverty still rampant in our country could make anyone want to leave.
Before I knew it, our ten-year tourist VISA expired, and at the age of twelve I realized I was now going to be labeled as an "illegal alien." Ten years of failed attempts at gaining legal residency had caught up with us. From then on, I was forced to comprehend the reality of our situation and what came with it. When I was told at 16 years old that I wasn't eligible for FAFSA, my world seemed to crumble before me. I hadn't realized that as an undocumented student I wouldn't receive financial aid. DACA was my salvation. With DACA I was eligible for in state tuition, which made college education seem less daunting and I regained some of the hope I had lost. Since then, one of my goals has been to show other undocumented students that we have a future. Our dreams may be harder to reach, but they're still valid. We haven't have fought for years in vain, each obstacle we have faced, we have overcome. This will continue to occur to future challenges, especially now. Trump's decision on DACA will not impact our determination or perseverance. This country was built by immigrants and can only grow with the aid of the same people that helped create it.
As of now, I'm a second-year student at Montgomery College planning to graduate this spring with an Associates Degree in Integrated Studies. I will then transfer to a four-year university to major in International Relations and Biology. I'm determined to continue to a medical school after receiving my bachelors. I'm also heavily involved in student life and currently working two jobs as well. I'm far from lazy.
I’ve lived in this country for 17 years, and I dream it will soon realize that people like my family and I, undocumented immigrants, who come from different backgrounds with diverse cultures, have so much to offer this nation.
Download Laura’s and other Dreamer’s posters for print here.