Uniting DREAMers Through Technology

Posted by on November 19, 2013.

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Rahul graduated last year from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in Computer Science. He'll being joining other DREAMers and top tech minds at our Hackathon on Wednesday. Read on to find out the biggest challenges he's faced due to our current immigration system and his strategy for 24 straight hours of coding.

FWD.us: Why is taking action on immigration reform important to you?

Rahul: Immigration reform means a lot to me because it will secure a better future for my friends and family. Many individuals are currently living under rigorous conditions and are being exploited. It is important to come up with a solution that will allow these individuals to come out of the shadows and prevent our nation from having two classes of citizens.

Throughout the years I have met many talented, educated, and hardworking folks who have a lot of potential but are shadowed by their undocumented status. Giving them an opportunity to exercise their potential will cause our nation to progress and prosper. There is a huge demand in science and technology and many undocumented individuals would be the perfect candidates to fill the void.

FWD.us: What have been some challenges you've faced because of our broken immigration system?

Rahul: One of the biggest challenges for me was living under fear and unpredictability. Though my classmates and friends had their roadmap planned out to a certain extent, I never knew what the future had in store for me. This frustrated me because I wanted to put myself in a position where I could provide for myself and my family but being undocumented made it impossible to do so. Not seeing my hard work pay off was also very difficult to cope with. Though I was giving my 100% in school, I was not able to get a job or internship and exercise the things I learned in school. I was very anxious to work with companies and learn the art of developing software with a team. Even though I was willing to work for free, I was still not able to do so because of my undocumented status.

Besides financial hardships, another challenge for me was being isolated from major family gatherings that occurred abroad. Whenever there were family gatherings and events (such as weddings), I had to miss out on them because there was uncertainty on whether I could come back into the U.S. and carry on with my education. Dealing with detachment was something which was very difficult for me but I eventually got used to it.

Also not having a drivers license took a toll on my dating life. Whenever I had a date, my friends would have to drive me and my date around. Though this was fun, it got awkward sometimes.

FWD.us: What are you most looking forward to when it comes to the Hackathon? Any ideas on what you'd like to achieve?

Rahul: I am looking forward to meeting other the DREAMers at the Hackathon. I get inspired when I learn about how fellow DREAMers have managed to overcome their adversities. I am also looking forward to seeing the ideas and applications that come out of this Hackathon and how they will impact the push for immigration reform. My goal for the Hackathon is to come up with a network where DREAMers can create a profile with basic information (such as their education, nationality, profession, current location, accomplishments etc). I want to aggregate this information from every profile and visually represent it in the application. This will allow everyone to see the diversity of DREAMers along with the positive changes they are capable of making.

FWD.us: What is the biggest strength you bring to the Hackathon?

Rahul: The biggest strengths I bring to the Hackathon are my eagerness to learn and my passion for technology. It really excites me to work on software projects that have the potential of affecting people's lives. I have been working with developing web applications for the past two years and I believe my experience will be beneficial to the Hackathon. Also, I've previously participated in Hackathons and I really pride myself in making it through the 24 hours without any caffeine. This will be me after 20+ hours have passed by.

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