One week from today, I will be joining 19 other DREAMers at LinkedIn headquarters in Mountain View, CA for the FWD.us DREAMer Hackathon.
I'm looking forward to helping create something that will move our country forward. I’m also interested to meet the other DREAMers and see what they are like. I want to learn their stories, hear their experiences, and understand who they are. Of course, I’m also looking forward to meeting Mark Zuckerberg.
Why I Support Immigration Reform
I believe reform is a smart step for our country because it would allow millions of people to work in jobs for which they are already qualified.
I came to this country at age six and didn’t realize I was undocumented until I tried to get a driver’s license. My immigration status has made it difficult to justify some of my biggest life decisions. Someone once asked me, "Why are you going to college if you won't be able to use your degree?"
At one point I did lose hope of ever being able to work legally, and thought I might have to find other ways to contribute. It’s difficult to aim high when there's a ceiling limiting your success.
Nevertheless, I studied computer science in college and a startup in New York that was in Techstars wanted to hire me. Unfortunately, our broken immigration system delayed my career.
My employer, Poptip, tried to hire me in February 2012. Poptip's founder, Kelsey Falter, went to several top immigration lawyers for advice. We tried filing for two types of visas, but ultimately I didn't qualify.
It was only when DACA passed in the summer of 2012, providing a temporary work permit, that I had an actual chance to join the team. I finally met my team in person 15 months after first meeting Kelsey online.
Now, in addition to working at Poptip, I have an incredible opportunity to participate in the FWD.us DREAMer Hackathon next week.
My friends and colleagues were excited to hear about the event. Kelsey even suggested the idea of an online service to help lawyers file immigration applications. Whatever my team creates at the Hackathon, I’ll bring my perfectionism and attention to detail to the project.