A young, undocumented immigrant on the deportation shift

A supporter of the DREAM Act waits to greet senators as they head to vote on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Sarah Gardner: A perspective now from one of those young, undocumented immigrants. Reyna Wences is 21, originally from Mexico and a student now at the University of Illinois in Chicago. We caught up with her during her lunch break.

Reyna, welcome to the program.

Reyna Wences: Hi.

Gardner: How does this affect you?

Wences: As an undocumented person, I've been living here in the United States for the last 12 years. And I'm actually turning 21 today, and so hearing this announcement was just like 'Happy Birthday, Rey!' This is a relief for me and for my younger brother as well. But at the same time, I'm a little bit worried because this is not an executive order, and it could change if Obama is not re-elected. Or whenever he decides to change it.

Gardner: Reyna, do you ever get any negative comments from young people who might see themselves as competing with you for jobs in the United States?

Wences: Yes. I think I actually got that a lot going through high school. Some comments I heard was you know, like get the "illegals" out of our public systems. The thing that I say is that all of my merits have been because of my own work, and the support of my family and friends.

Gardner: Have you talked to your parents today?

Wences: Yes.

Gardner: And what did they say to you besides 'Happy birthday'?

Wences: Well, my mom said, 'You won't get deported!' So I think she's just really happy. It's really funny how my mom tells me 'you won't get deported,' but at the same time, I can't tell her the same thing, even though she doesn't have a criminal record, right? So I hope that we can get to the day where I can tell my mom the same thing, 'You won't get deported.'

Gardner: That was Reyna Wences. She's a student and an undocumented immigrant, and she's very publicly supported the DREAM Act.

Just one perspective -- we want to hear yours too. Let us know.

About the author

Sarah Gardner is a reporter on the Marketplace sustainability desk.

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