For the past seven years, life has been a struggle for Armando Mata Orozco, who immigrated to the United States when he was just fifteen years old.
It was hard for Armando to get on his feet without a Social Security number; he could not find a decent job and lived in fear of being arrested for driving without a license. Fortunately, that all changed when he discovered and applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
With assistance from his friend Mauricio, a community member involved in the C-U Immigration Forum, Armando hired a lawyer to help him obtain a social security number, work permit, and driver's license. Being the first undocumented immigrant in Champaign, Illinois to get his social security number, Armando feels great relief in his daily life. As the seventh of 13 brothers and sisters (seven of which live in Champaign also), Armando desires the same peace for his family. "I wish one day they also have the same luck I had. I wish one day they can also be unafraid to drive to work or to be deported," he writes in an email.
The DACA program allows Armando to go after his dreams. Currently, Armando works as a cook at a local restaurant, but his aspirations are to get a culinary degree and become a professional chef. He also looks forward to taking English classes at Parkland College to improve his writing.
With your support of the Y's work with immigrant communities, more success stories like Armando's will be told. Please, help us replace the $60,000 grant that the Catholic Church revoked because we refused to break ties with a state-wide coalition that endorsed same-sex marriage equality. You can make inclusive communities happen! Please, donate now.