My name is Jose Ocampo. A lot of people could describe me as Christian, Mexican, die-hard Carolina sports fan, southern, and the list could go on. Although all of that is correct, there is a huge part of my story that has led up to who I am today and that’s, that I am a Dreamer. Dreamers are immigrants who were brought to the USA at a young age and don’t hold legal status in this country. Every Dreamer has a story, and here is mine.
I was born in Buena Vista de Cuellar, which is a small town in the southwestern coast of Mexico. After being born for two months my mother along with my older brother (six years old at the time) decided to leave our home to make way for the dream of reaching the country of hope and opportunities. My father at the time was already in Charlotte, NC working multiple jobs so that he could pay for us to be brought into the country. My mother crossed the border separately while my brother and I crossed through Tijuana border into California with relatives. We spent a week in California before we made our way to North Carolina to meet with my father to live in a one bedroom apartment with two other families. This is where my life began.
Charlotte has always been home. I went to Steele Creek Elementary where I met kids whom I’m still close friends with till this day. I always felt like I was like my other friends, no difference except the fact that I knew Spanish. It was one afternoon playing soccer in backyard with my father where I learned about my situation. I had overheard in the news about illegal immigrants and how it was a serious dilemma in this country. Out of curiosity, like any other child, I asked my father if we were illegal. In a very blunt way my father confirmed that we were. Not really making much of it, I continued with my life. I figured if it hadn’t changed anything now, why should I worry about it? I learn soon enough that wasn’t the case.
It was my sophomore year in high school where I truly understood who I was. My parents have always prized education and motivated my brother to always seek to further our education. This mentality allowed me to be looked at for the Bill Gates Scholarship. I remember going to the seminar where they went through the qualifications and specifics on applying the scholarship. Towards the end of it, they were going over the FAFSA portion and mentioned that in order to receive the scholarship you had to have lawful status in this country. That is when I truly understood who I was. Till this day I still remember walking out of that auditorium being in complete shock of what had just happened to me. I had finally understood that the dream of going to college was not going to be as easy as it was for the rest of my friends.
Fortunately for me, my faith is in a God who is in control and in March 2013, I was blessed with the Deferred Action Childhood Arrival (DACA). My dreams of going to college had finally seemed to be attainable. Due to DACA I was able to get my first job and enroll in community college. DACA has given me the opportunity to start paving the way for my career. Although DACA has helped me in tremendous ways, it has also held me back. I believe in helping the community in any way possible. This belief is why I volunteer with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department. Volunteering inspired me to become a cadet which later facilitate the possibility to become an officer. After going through 3 months of training and numerous steps for the application process, I was denied the position because of my legal status. This was a very disheartening moment as I looked forward to furthering my involvement with the CMPD.
DACA has opened many doors for me, and for that I will always be grateful. Even though DACA hasn’t allowed me to fully indulge in every opportunity presented to me, it has helped me fulfill the goal my parents had in mind when they brought me to this country, and that is to be successful. Now that DACA is in the process of being rescinded, I am at risk of being deported in Congress doesn’t agree on a legislative solution for DACA recipients.
Memphis immigration Project exists to engage issues of Immigration from a biblical perspective.