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Home / US / This Harvard Law student and DACA recipient looks to the Supreme Court: NPR

This Harvard Law student and DACA recipient looks to the Supreme Court: NPR



Mitchell Santos Toledo is one of 700,000 DACA recipients whose fate could be decided by the US Supreme Court, which hears arguments this week about the program for deferred arrivals of children.

Laura Beltrán Villamizar / NPR


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Laura Beltrán Villamizar / NPR

Mitchell Santos Toledo is one of 700,000 DACA receivers whose fate could be decided by the United States Supreme Court, which this week hears arguments about the program for deferred arrivals of children.

Laura Beltrán Villamizar / NPR

Mitchell Santos Toledo came to the United States at the age of two. His parents had a temporary visa when they brought him and his 5-year-old sister into the country. They never left. This spring, Santos Toledo will graduate from Harvard Law School. He is one of the 700,000 DREAMERS whose fate in the US may be determined by a Supreme Court case on Tuesday.

Currently, Santos Toledo can not be deported. In 2012, President Obama introduced the "Deferred Actions for the Arrival of Children" program, which postponed the deportation of these young people if they met certain specifications and passed a background check. Thereafter, because of their temporary status, they qualified for a social security number so they could work and pay taxes. Her status had to be renewed every two years.

President Trump tried to close the DACA in 2017, only to be blocked by the lower courts. Now is the case before the Supreme Court, where the name of Santos Toledo is on record.

After the family of Santos Toledo came to the US, he would grow. Two other children were born in the US and are American citizens. Santos Toledo's mother stayed home to look after the family. his father has done manual work under the table.

"He kept telling us, 'Your priority is studying here – your priority is to do the best you can in academia,' recalls Santos Toledo. [19659008] He does not remember an aha moment when he realized that he and his family were undocumented, instead, when he "reached those milestones of puberty like applying for a driver's license," when he realized, "Oh wait, that can me not. "

" This will be really difficult for you "

His immigration status continued to bar him from opportunities, he could not accept a scholarship from a private school, and he watched his older sister, an academic star who was unable to go to college.

But that did not stop his ambition. "Grown up like any other American child," says Santos Toledo, "his head was filled with images of colleges – above all of the University of California, Berkeley, "State School No. 1 in California".

At Santos Toledo When he told his parents about his dreams in Berkeley, they let him know – without a doubt – that this would be very difficult for them because of his immigration status. But he wanted to try anyway – and got in.

However, like his sister, he could not find a way to pay the full load. At that time, undocumented students were not entitled to scholarships or loans.

Finally, his mother proposed an alternative: attending classes at the local community college where classes were more affordable, and he could study part-time.

Morning class. Job. Night class. To repeat.

And so he did it. "My schedule was almost daily, waking up, taking a morning hour off work, going to work and then going back to school and making an hour," says Santos Toledo.

The jobs he found were focused on his final career goals.

"As a migrant parent I had two choices," he says with a smile. "I wanted to either become a doctor or a lawyer, these were the two ways my father intended for me."

He briefly worked in a doctor's office, then got a job in a law firm and fell in love with legal practice.

Many of these would not have been possible without DACA.

Santos Toledo admits he was scared when he applied because it meant telling the US government everything about himself and his family. But after he had not seized any other opportunities for fear of endangering his family, he dared to leap. "I said:" Do you know what? I need to do that, not just for myself, but realistically, I have to help feed my family. "

As soon as he gets his DACA status He applied for a driver's license and a social security number to work legally. When Santos Toledo received his social security card by mail, he exclaimed, "The doors of opportunity offered by this little piece of paper are changing lives," he says.

From Community College to entry-level speaker ]

After four years part-time at Community College, Santos Toledo moved to Berkeley. In 2016 he graduated with the highest honors. He was selected as a class representative in the Department of Law.

Until then, his parents had never visited him on campus. They could not fly or drive because they are not documented. Santos Toledo and his sister drove them from Los Angeles to Berkeley in Northern California.

His parents had no idea that their son would speak that day. When they were brought to the front row as honored guests, "they assumed they were in trouble," recalls Santos Toledo.

Until they saw their son on stage.

"You both mean more to me than you'll ever know"

"It's an honor to speak to you all this morning," Santos Toledo began. "But it is an indescribable honor to address two special people from this stage onwards, my mother and father."

His speech was a homage to his education, his classmates, some of them also DACA recipients, his life in America and his parents.

In his speech, he recalled his life in the south of Los Angeles in a "violent, graffiti-covered neighborhood," in which his parents succeeded in having four children with a monthly budget of virtually nothing in the year to educate a country where they did not know anyone. "

" But they made it home and it was beautiful. "We were poor, but we were loved," he said.

Tiny speech, he finally broke his composure, fiercely struggling against tears and addressing his parents in the audience: "Mamá y papá. Gracias por todo. They both mean more to me than you'll ever know. "This spring, and when his DACA status is renewed, he will have a law office.

Despite his academic achievements, he emphasizes that many DACA recipients are more successful – human beings Owning homes and businesses and raising their own families. "That's a lot bigger than the DREAMer tale," he says. "It's about a whole group of people who are your friends, your neighbors, the people you are least expected, and which are part of the American fabric. And this is our home. We do not consider it as a home. This is "our home."


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