4 years ago, Daniel Alejandro decided to go in search of a dream, getting a college degree and developing freely. What stopped him? Daniel’s family, like many other Mexican families, was forced to abandon their country and seek better opportunities in the United States, which he found, but at a great cost, not accessing college, and living in anonymity. He would have been forced not to choose freely in the land of the free. Daniel Alejandro refused and discovered that the only way to do this was to return to his country, which many in his situation does not even see as an option. Now, he seeks to give an opportunity to other young people and strive for the development of a country that did not provide a space for his family. This is his case.
When Daniel Alejandro was only 3 years old, he began, with his brother and his mother, the journey to join his father in the United States. He left his uncles, cousins and grandparents without understanding what was happening and not knowing that he would not see them again for 14 years. After a long journey, they reunited with his father. They arrived without knowing anything or anyone and had to start a new life.
He grew up, studied kindergarten, elementary school, Jr. high, and graduated from high school. He made American friends and without having given much thought of his status as undocumented, he began to understand his situation. He began to understand that unlike his American friends, his opportunities for professional development would not reach far beyond high school. “The last year of high school I realized that it would be very difficult to attend a college in the U.S.”, he says.
Realizing his few opportunities to enter college, he began to analyze other options; he did not sit back and relax. He discovered that in other States he had the more opportunities to enter a public institution, but under a higher fee than the one paid by residents, despite contributing to the same taxes as them. He also realized that even having the opportunity to get a college degree; this would be useless, due to his undocumented status.
In his investigation he found that back in Mexico, Tecnológico de Monterrey accepted SAT scores as an admission exam to enter college, and also could apply to a scholarships or funding program. But it was not as easy as it seemed, he had no special help on getting the necessary paperwork for admissions or completing the process of achieving a scholarship. In addition, there was always the worry of not being able to return to the U.S., the risks were many, he had nowhere to live, he was not sure if he would get a scholarship and did not know Mexico.
At the end he decided to return to Mexico, he got the necessary paperwork, and submitted the admission exam. He returned to Mexico after 14 years, hoping to later get a scholarship.
Upon return, the cultural impact was greater than he thought, bigger even of than the time he moved to the United States. “You grow up in America with an image of Mexico that maybe is not the best or most representative, but also because parents give you an image of Mexico that is perhaps not the best, so I had a negative image of Mexico. Actually I did not think Mexico would be like this, I was not aware of all opportunities.”, says Daniel Alejandro.
“I think the image given by the young people about Mexico is that you can’t find or make opportunities, but upon returning to Mexico I know that many young people could take Mexico as an option to develop, especially in the academic area.”, he adds.
From these thoughts, Daniel Alejandro created a student group, to advice young undocumented immigrants in the United States about the opportunities they can find in Mexico and help the through the admissions process and scholarship processes, and be a mediator between the Instituto Tecnológico and the youth. He mentioned that a major problem is that the counselors of the high schools are not prepared to handle the case of an undocumented student. Therefore, another activity of this group is to inform counselors in U.S. that Mexican young people can find opportunities, as well as send them information for admissions and scholarships. Although the group is just beginning and is still very small, the dream of Daniel Alejandro is that groups like these have a presence in all U.S. states and replicate to other Latin American countries so that more students can meet their people and help develop Latin America.
What stops many Mexicans in the United States from continuing their studies in Mexico is fear, he says. The fear of not knowing what it is to live in Mexico, the fear of not having a support or a friend that gives you the help you need, fear of not getting a scholarship or not having a place to live, but mostly fear of not being able to return to the United States. This is precisely what the group seeks to provide, security in front of uncertainty and support when they need it most, having done this, there is no doubt that other Mexicans are going to return, and will support the development of their countries.
“Returning to Mexico and studying here at Tec and returning here to Monterrey was the best option for me and my family, mostly because I’m studying and I managed to return to León and reunite with all my family; I got to meet all my cousins, aunts, uncles and my grandparents and if I had not returned to Mexico to study, this wouldn’t have been possible, this was also a good choice because I could fix my legal situation, now I have a tourist visa and with that visa I can go see relatives in the U.S. who are also in the same situation, but in other states, and if I had stayed without legalizing my situation, I wouldn’t have met those relatives… it was one of the most important decisions I’ve ever made. ”
 The case has been prepared in order to serve as material for class discussion, as a contribution to ethics education and as a mean to replicate and multiply the efforts of the protagonist. This case was written by Cristóbal Lohr Castelo. It is prohibited to modify this case in whole or in part without permission of the author. This material is property of Dream in México.
Some facts have been altered to maintain the confidentiality of the student.