Ever since Brant Douglas left St. Kitts and came to New York with his grandmother as a 4-year-old, he has considered himself an American.
But unlike peers who were born here or who obtained green cards or citizenship, the undocumented immigrant couldn’t apply for a learner’s permit, get a state identification card, open a bank account or go to Cancun for spring break.
When he was 16, he couldn’t apply for a Summer Youth position. He worked low-wage odd jobs to work his way through Medgar Evers College and get a master’s degree from Baruch.
Although he graduated with honors, his future was uncertain. It was difficult to get a job and the threat of deportation to a country he barely remembers hung over him.
But, he says, all that may have changed with President Obama’s embrace of a new policy that mimics the federal DREAM Act.
“Now, I’ll be able to earn a living that matches the education I’ve been able to achieve,” Douglas, 24, of East Flatbush, Brooklyn, said.
“I’ve been monitoring the DREAM Act, but I figured nothing would happen until 2014. To wake up today and hear the news today was amazing.”
“I have a sense of hope now,” added Adriana Pasto, 19, who came here from Ecuador five years ago and is enrolled at the Borough of Manhattan Community College. “The U.S. is really my home now.”
Miguel Dominguez, 16, who has been living in Queens since he left Ecuador in 2009, called the news “a dream come true.”
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