Diane arrived in the US when she was just a child, moving from Mexico through the South, before finally settling in the Northeast. As she got older, she came to appreciate the anonymity of a big city. Public transit made it easier to live without a driver's license, a necessary result of life without a local birth certificate or social security card. That kind of bureaucratic tangle was a greater concern than immigration agents, who rarely turned an eye toward her neighborhood.
As she reached the end of high school, the tangle became more serious. She had done well in high school, but applying to college meant more forms and more questions about her background. She couldn't use her school's admissions resources or apply for most scholarships, but found her way to a school across the country. She did well at college, too, and is now part of the community around Code2040, a San Francisco-based organization promoting diversity in tech.
It's a common story, so common that there's a name for it. Diane is a Dreamer, to use the language of Congress' troubled immigration bill — a young, US-educated immigrant who came to the country as a minor. Over the past eight years, President Obama and Congress cycled through a number of attempts to help Diane and others like her, first with the now-shelved DREAM Act, and then with an executive order called Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, or DACA. Issued by President Obama, the order allowed for work permits and other protections for anyone who entered the country before the age of 16, provided they had no felony convictions and met other conditions. Still in place, it currently protects nearly 750,000 people from deportation.