No papers, no future

December 2, 2010

By Kirsten Boele for the Tucson Weekly

Photo by Kirsten Boele

Erika Toledo Ruiz, 19, relaxes on a comfortable couch with her little sister, Gloria. While their dad naps after his midnight shift at McDonald’s, a big flat-screen TV entertains the girls with blaring American cartoons. Gloria plays with the leftovers of a McFlurry as Erika gets ready to pick up her mom from her diner job.

Erika wants to work in the restaurant business as well. She graduated from Pueblo Magnet High School last year and is saving money to enter the culinary arts program at Pima Community College next year.

“When I get my diploma, I want to start business management so that I can get my own restaurant,” Erika says. “That is my big dream. Hopefully, it comes true.”

But there is one major obstacle: She does not have the right papers to stay in the United States legally.

On the other side of the country, New Yorker Sonia Guinansaca also lives an undocumented life. However, if the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act becomes law, Erika, Sonia and almost a million other undocumented young people in the United States could continue their education and follow their dreams.

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This entry was posted by Border Journalism Network.
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