Aliento Voices: We have Won a Battle: Now We Are Ready to Win the War
Hi my name is Beto Perez, I am one of the 2,000 undocumented students that graduates from Arizona High Schools every year without access to instate tuition or scholarships. I am the first in my family to graduate high school, Go Jackrabbits!
Thursday, August 22, 2019, marks the first day of classes at Arizona State University. Last year, I spent my senior year of high school going to our state capitol to share my story. I was 9 months old when I came to the United States. Since I was 14 years old I had a dream that I will go to Arizona State University and graduate with a mechanical engineer bachelors. I’ve always loved cars and growing up in a single-parent household I wanted to honor all the sacrifices my mom had made for me and my younger siblings.
While I was in a leadership position at the DECA club at Mesa High School and volunteered with Aliento, I couldn’t help but think that learning about Aliento came a little too late for me. Being a senior in high school it didn’t matter my GPA or all the work that I put forward to achieve my higher educational dreams because I am a dreamer, I am undocumented.
Currently, I am working with my dad in landscaping enduring the heat with the goal of saving up enough money to pay for school. I constantly need to remind myself that I am on my own timeline. While I always thought that I was the same as my peers and will have the same opportunities, it has been hard not to give up as I came to realize that it was not the case. Many of my classmates are posting pictures of themselves starting school, sharing the exciting new classes they are taking, meeting new people, and expressing their feelings of being a college student, so it can be a little discouraging to know I am not starting my freshman year at ASU.
Today, my hope was restored when I heard about the news that I will qualify for the new 150% rate that was passed by ABOR!! I am deeply grateful to ABOR for allowing students like me who were not able to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to be charged 150% tuition rate instead of the previous 300%.
I hope that the regents, school presidents, and organizations like Aliento continue to advocate so that undocumented students like me have access to instate tuition & state scholarships. I won’t give up on my dreams and I know that sooner or later I will become a mechanical engineer and call myself a proud Sun Devil!