My name is Jesus Cortez and I support AB 131. I am a 31 year old Mexican immigrant—and undocumented immigrant. My struggles are similar to the struggles of many who are not undocumented: I struggle to pay rent, pay my bills at home and try to be there for my mother in every way possible. Ever since I started college in 2002—thanks to the passage of AB540—I have not received any form of financial aid. All these years I have worked hard, and borrowed money from friends and family; some of that money has gone unpaid, and it hurts not to be able to pay them back.
Though my family and friends are supportive, they find themselves struggling as much as I do. With the passage of AB131, I might be able to accomplish my goal of earning a PhD. Given that I will most likely be graduating with a Master’s in Education from California State University, Long Beach in the Spring of 2013, I am sure I will not qualify for any financial aid—at least not for my Master’s.
Yet, I am not that selfish to say that it does not make a difference, because it does. I know that there are many young women and men who wish to pursue their college career and I will fight alongside of them to see that happen. Even if I were to never benefit from any legislation, my struggle for equality and justice continues. As I see the faces of many young immigrants eager to accomplish many great things, I am inspired to continue to fight. For me, the future is now, and I hope for them the future is a tomorrow where the hatred and selfishness of others will not prevent them from achieving their educational and life goals.