Ariel Lopez's identity is shaped by many titles. He's a son, a brother, a friend and he's also a 'Dreamer'. "I grew up around here, I went to school around here, met a lot of people, friends" said Lopez.
Lopez was barely a year old when his parents brought him to the U.S. to treat a medical condition. The prolonged treatment led to his family overstaying their visa. "I don't remember. I haven't been back since, this is home" Lopez said.
Lopez says it was in high school his status began to seriously hold him back, until his senior year, when then President Obama implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. "It was one of the best times. At that time I couldn't drive, I wasn't able to get a license, I couldn't get an actual job, I was worried about school" recalled Lopez.
Through DACA, Lopez was able to drive, secure a job and attend Tri-C, later transferring to Ashford University. Lopez says all that was derailed when his DACA documents expired under the Trump administration. "I was terminated, I tried every possible way to keep the job, I talked to UCIS" Lopez said.
Now he says his hopes of ever getting his business degree rely solely on the president's decision on DACA. According to the AP, that decision will be to end it. Regardless, Lopez says it was DACA that brought him out of the shadows and he will keep fighting for it.
"There were unjust laws back in the time of Martin Luther King, that is why he stood up. He went to jail and we are here fighting for it. To me that is the American Dream" Lopez said.