I was just as American as anyone else. In high school I ran track and field, I went to prom, and I applied to college. Like many seniors in high school applying for financial aid, I realized I would need to know my Social Security number (SSN) to qualify. I asked my mom for my SSN and she told me I didn't have one—she told me that I was undocumented.
At 24, I went to court in Baltimore every month to find out if I was going to be deported. I had to show my student records, I had to get affidavits from my friends and I had to show I had no criminal record. But when the judge saw my parents enter the courtroom I watched him change his mind about me. I was only able to beat deportation because both of my parents were disabled, allowing me to qualify for cancellation of removal. During my last deportation hearing, the judge granted my protection.
With my back against the wall for so much of my life, I learned to rely on my natural gifts and figure out what I could do to make ends meet and survive. I put myself through college on the small amount of money I made as a freelance designer and what my mom could spare from her disability checks. I did all of this while facing deportation.
Now, I use my talents as Our Revolution's Head Graphic Designer to advocate for progressive change, including immigration justice. Every Dreamer has the right to experience the same thing that I am now experiencing.
I am fighting for a clean Dream Act because I don't want anyone else to experience the fear of deportation hearings. There should be a clear approach for people like me who came here at a young age, who have clean records, who want to provide for their families and who are upstanding citizens.
I was brought to America when I was three years old from Nigeria. My parents raised me to be a good person, to treat others with kindness and respect, and to stand up for what is right.