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September 24, 2010

Teen Involved in Immigration Debacle Begins College

In August NewsHour Extra published a student voice from 18-year-old Yves Gomes to President Obama about his immigration status in the United States. Gomes arrived in the United States from India as an infant with his parents and has lived in this country ever since. Recently both of Gomes’ parents were deported back to their native countries, leaving Gomes to live with extended family.

Earlier this year, Gomes himself faced deportation, but was granted a reprieve from the government that has allowed him to remain in the United States. In August NewsHour Extra published a student voice from 18-year-old Yves Gomes to President Obama about his immigration status in the United States.

Kurtis Lee from NewsHour Extra caught up with Gomes on the first day of his college career.

What was your initial reaction the moment you found out that you were going to be deported?

I was pretty devastated and immediately I fell into a limbo. I was like ‘what’s going to happen to my future?’ I was uncertain and kind of panicked. I’ve lived here all my life basically, it’s the only country I’ve ever known and if I were to go back to India I couldn’t adjust to that culture, the language, just everything. It would be completely foreign to me.

When did immigration officials begin to contact you?

Well, my parents (prior to being deported) filed for legal status, but it just never went through and after a certain point we basically fell into this category that made us “illegal,” I guess. And one day in 2007, I believe, my dad was driving with a broken tail light and the cop pulled him over and he pulled up the records and found out that we weren’t legal here. So then the following week, they came and arrested my dad and after that everything basically happened with the deportation thing.

Did you ever face any obstacles in school because of your immigration status?

Yes, one that pops into my mind was that at my high school they offered a neat medical program. And as part of that program you can do an internship at local hospitals and I was really interested in that because I want to be a doctor. But because of my status I could never really go for that program, because if you want to work at a hospital they check your background, and if I tried they would turn me down.

What are your thoughts on the DREAM Act, the proposed legislation that would allow young people like yourself to remain in the United States and attend college?

If the DREAM Act passes it would be great, not just for me, but for all the kids out there. I was able to stay in this country because of all the support I’ve had from the people around me and there’s so many kids out there that are in worse situations, and who don’t have the same support as me. It would just be great for all of us.

Did your classmates know about the situation?

They did and I was definitely able to get through this situation because of my friends. I feel like they’re the best friends ever. My chemistry teacher was really supportive too. At the end of the school year my deportation day was uncertain, so my teacher decided to throw me a surprise party and it was great, even though they apparently blew the surprise, but I didn’t know!

Can you share some of your thoughts on being able to stay in the country for now?

I’m grateful.  I was suppose to be deported on August 13th, but they held it off. So as of now I know I can stay in this country and I just have to make the most of my opportunities. I have to study and not waste time, because that’s why I want to be here–to study and progress myself.

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