By Josue Morales
April 30, 2003
Editor's Note: Josue Morales is a pseudonym. The writer's name has been changed to protect his identity.)
I am 16 years old, an 11th grader in high school and have lived in the United States since the age of 3. I have been in the United States for so long that I consider myself an American. Although my family is from Guatemala, I do not know much about it because my parents brought me here when I was young. We moved to Maryland when I was 4 years old.
Education is very important for me. I have worked hard enough in school that I am now in the Honors program at my high school and I take three advance-placement classes in Spanish, biology and literature. My mom is actively involved in my education.
I want to go to college when I graduate. I've participated in some programs at the University of Maryland, including community leadership training and seminars for teens who want to help solve the problem of racial tension in schools.
My dream is to become a lawyer. I want to make a difference and help others. My community has many needs and I would like to make things better.
My mom is currently on a waiting list for a visa. Because of this, I am not considered a resident for purposes of tuition. I am just starting to look into colleges, but the rates that I would have to pay would make it impossible for me to go.
But Congress is considering a bill that could help students like me pursue higher education and a better future. The DREAM Act would allow states like mine to offer in-state tuition to all residents, and it may help me gain legal permanent resident status so that I can work wherever I am hired after I graduate.
My friends are all looking into schools and planning for their futures. All I want is the same opportunity.
Josue Morales is a high-school student living in Maryland.