Growing up in Chaparral, New Mexico, was much like any other child’s upbringing for Carlos Corral. He played outside with friends and went to school, but there was one thing that set him apart from the rest of his classmates: Carlos wasn’t born in the United States. He was born in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.
“I knew I was from Juárez, I just didn’t know what citizenship was till I was in middle school and I found that if you were born somewhere else you don’t belong here,” Corral said.
“[Immigration status is] always the ball and chain holding you back, but with DACA I feel regular… just like anyone else.”
Corral remembers feeling secluded and small because up until middle school he thought he was just like everyone else.
“Feeling like you can’t tell anyone, feeling like you’re different, it’s just really hard,” Corral said.
His immigration status kept him from participating in school activities that involved traveling anywhere out of the city. He had to accept the fact that he was going to face many limitations that went beyond middle school. He had to accept that he was going to struggle when it came to scholarship and financial help for his higher education.
But that didn’t discourage him. On the contrary, Corral took every opportunity that was made available to him. In eighth grade he made a decision to attend early college high school. This opportunity would allow him to graduate from high school with an associates degree.
After graduation Carlos applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA), which protected around 790,000 young unauthorized immigrants from deportation. Under DACA, Corral was able to live a normal life.
“[Immigration status is] always the ball and chain holding you back, but with DACA I feel regular… just like anyone else,” Corral said.
On Sept. 5, President Trump announced the end of DACA and left the decision about the future of thousands of applicants to the Congress. Carlos, however, is hopeful for his future in the United States.
“Like they say, a door doesn’t close without one opening,” Corral said.
Now, Corral is a student at NMSU and is working toward his dream of obtaining his degree in mechanical engineering. His aspiring mentality has brought him a long way and he plans on continuing to strive to accomplish all the goals he has set for himself.