My dad was a fighter pilot in the Peruvian Air Force, so I grew up with a lot of military influence.
In high school I joined NJROTC which was the junior ROTC and I was there for three-and-a-half years.
It gave me that taste of maybe what my dad might have lived when he was in the military. I lost him was I was only six years old, so I never really got to know that part of him. I always thought in the back of my head when I graduate, I want to join the military.
When I was in my junior year I realized that I couldn’t enroll in the military because I was undocumented. I was sitting with a recruiter at my school, an Air Force recruiter, and he asked me about it. He’s like, ‘What’s your social?’ So when I told him,’Well I don’t have one.’ He’s like, ‘What about your passport?’ I’m like,’Well I have a Peruvian passport.’ And he’s like,’No you have to either be a U.S. resident or a U.S. citizen to be able to join.’ That’s the first time I ever experienced that big wall of being undocumented, like a big stop sign saying no, you can’t pursue this passion of yours.
I didn’t live a normal life until I got DACA. When it finally passed and I had a work permit in my hands and a driver’s license that I could read, I was like, “Oh my god, not everything is bad. This is true.” And I guess I started softening again and believing that there’s a chance that I could be recognized as a human being here.
I was able to pursue my career in mortgage. I was able to build my professional network, help people buy homes, and do all these things for myself and my family and my community.
If that’s going to be taken away, everything that I’ve accomplished, that I’ve worked on, that I’ve helped people with will just fall apart. It will shake the foundation of who I am today as a person, as a professional, even as a friend, as a daughter, everything. If there’s no solution for DACA or if the government repeals it, it’s like telling someone that their life is gonna be shattered. I live with a constant state of anxiety not knowing if the next knock on my door will be someone trying to deport me or someone I love that might be close to me.
My name is Andrea S. I was born in Lima, Peru. I was brought here by my mom when I was 11 years old.