News & Media

Undocumented Student Writes the President

May 22, 2011  |  7NEWS  |  Link to article

DENVER -- It's the day he's been looking forward to for a long time.

"I'm very excited to graduate today," said Isaias Vasquez, a senior at Bruce Randolph School in Denver. "I'm graduating with honors."But the excitement of walking out in his cap and gown during the graduation ceremony is bittersweet.

"I live with the threat of deportation every day when I got out into the streets," Vasquez said.Vazquez is the president of his class. He knows what it takes to be a leader. He said that's why he's speaking up."I'm the first to graduate from my family but being an undocumented student, I'm not able to get grants and scholarships because they're very limited and competitive," said Vasquez. "We don't get state or financial aid at all, because we don't qualify for it."So he wrote a letter to President Barack Obama, asking him to make an exception for undocumented students like him. He asked the president not to allow students who strive to succeed in higher education to be deported."We're here to live the American dream for a better life. We risked it all and left it all to come here without knowing anything," said Vasquez.7NEWS asked Vasquez what about those who abide by immigration laws and went through the legal process to attain citizenship. Shouldn't undocumented students do the same?"The immigration system is broken. We have no access to it. It takes years to get through the system -- even if you get through it," said Vasquez.Vasquez hopes his letter will get the attention his school got back in January, when Obama mentioned Bruce Randolph School in his state of the union address."I can stay quiet, but we have to speak up. I have to speak up," said Vasquez.President Obama has said he still wants to work with Republicans on the so-called Dream Act. The bill would give children of illegal immigrants a path to residency if they attend college or serve in the military. The Dream Act was defeated earlier this year.