Life isn't easy for Lourdes Santiago. It's never been, at least since she can remember. "I remember selling candy in school to be able to make money for myself," she said.
The money paid for clothes, school supplies, everything Lourdes' parents couldn't afford. After high school, she started working in the fields. It's the only job she could find to pay for college. "Right now, I'm certified to be a preschool teacher but I can't work."
She can't legally work because she's not a citizen. She came to America when she was 7. In Mexico, her dad, Eliceo was a cop and her mom was a nurse. They left it all behind to pursue a dream.
Eliceo Santiago said in spanish,"I did it for my kids, so I could add my little grain to make a better world."
His idea of a better world is one that's united. He says it starts with our country and talks of immigration reform are giving him hope. "They won't be able to separate us...this is what we're always fighting for"
If immigration reform becomes a reality it could mean more opportunities for Lourdes' family, a possibility for her to work legally and an easier path toward citizenship. "I think it would mean for my parents that all their hard work was worth it, that coming here was worth it," she added.
And Although life might not get easier any time soon, she says, at least there's a chance.
Lourdes Santiago is transferring to Fresno State next semester. If the immigration reform bill passes, an advanced degree could automatically grant her a green card.