By JUAN QUEVEDO and JACQUELINE GUZMÁN-GARCÍA
EL NUEVO SOL
My name is Juan Quevedo, I am 24 years old, I was born in Morelia Michoacán ,Mexico and raised in California since I was five years old. Throughout my academic career, I never took my undocumented status seriously. Upon graduating high school, my father was detained, prosecuted and deported when unable to provide legal documentation. Soon after the deportation proceedings, my father was brutally murdered in Mexico. My father’s death left me with no choice but to observe, listen and learn to survive. With that in mind I enrolled into Antelope Valley Community College.
As track and cross country runner in high school I joined Antelope Valley’s running program. Due to the California Community College Athletic Association rules, I was soon out of running eligibility. As a result La Reconquista Racing Club Team (LRRCT) was born.
This team was founded by my brother, several fiends and myself. The result of this team was beyond our goals and expectations. This team consisted of undocumented and documented students of all backgrounds and ethnicities served as a stepping stone for further recognition eventually leading to athletic scholarships to four year universities. I was offered several athletic scholarships ranging from California, to North Dakota and Kansas. At one point, LRRCT was about the 7th fastest team overall and the fastest club team in California.
I had no choice but to work prior to attending college. With hardly any experience I earned a position at an enterprise where I have earned several recognitions such as perfect attendance, and most dedicated employee. I have maintained a perfect driving record, filed and paid taxes, even established and maintained a good credit score; the fundamentals of what most opposing groups use against undocumented students.
Currently, I am a full time student attending California State University, Northridge (CSUN) majoring in Political Science, I work full time and in between juggling an internship at the office of California State Assembly member, Felipe Fuentes. I’m also a member of “Dreams to be Heard-“a student lead organization dedicated to the empowerment of the undocumented students at CSUN.
Studying Political Science has made me realize that an immigrant rights movement needs not only political activist, but political researchers as well. A movement cannot survive without the other. If the time and resources permitted I would engage in a large data analysis that would destroy the anti-immigrant paradigm used against undocumented immigrants. This analysis would include a data set that included a large population sample, accurately representing the undocumented immigrant community. This data set would be available for decades to come.
After a serious thought process, I have decided to pursue a legal degree upon graduation. I will study immigration from top to bottom enabling me to provide the best legal advice possible.
Empirical data has shown time and time again that higher education is related to a better socioeconomic status; therefore I would urge undocumented students to pursue higher education. The result will directly benefit oneself and indirectly benefit future generations to come.
Thanks to Senator Gil Cedillo, public office holders and millions of supporters, the CA DREAM act was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown this past October. The passage of the CA DREAM act will make higher education more obtainable for thousands of undocumented students in California. An educated population promotes a more sustainable society for our community, nation and consequently the entire world. For those already in college, we need to not only graduate, but graduate with honors and pursue graduate and/or professional school.
I would like to emphasize that I am just an ordinary person, merely one soul exercising the privileges and opportunities I have been given. I know millions of undocumented students that would do the same. I have no entitlements; instead I choose to work for what I deserve.
I will leave you with the words of Senator Gil Cedillo, “The question is not whether comprehensive immigrant reform will happen. The question is will you be ready for it? Ready to take full advantage of the newly profound privilege?”
To answer Senator Cedillo’s questions, I will be ready with a degree in my hand and experience to back it up.