Undocumented students share their journeys


Denis Perez / The Advocate

Students put away tables after the student town hall event finished early because of the lack of administrative participation in the Fireside Hall on Thursday.

By Jose Arebola, Staff writer

A touching story of a student’s family and life experiences was told to a small crowd at a low turnout event Thursday.
The town hall event was planned as an opportunity for discussions about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Brothers, and DACA student panelists for the event, Ricardo and Gabriel Sanchez, sat waiting in Fireside Hall as students walking outside the doors were invited in by Associated Student Union President Alex Walker Griffin.
As the crowd settled in, Ricardo Sanchez began to share memories of his youth, the experiences he wanted to share with other students that evening.
“I remember everything being so fast, switching trunks quickly and tossing my brother in. He was a baby about it,” Ricardo said.
He recounted what it was like walking through the desert carrying his brother on his shoulders and what the moment was like when they made contact with their “coyote” after baking in the heat.
Stories had their light moments, but were dominated by heavy topics. Describing their father, Arturo Sanchez, they told stories of how much adversity he endured. Staying with family, he worked three jobs and found time for sleep when he could. He eventually saved enough money to bring his family to America.
“My dad barely had any time off and when he did, he had to get some rest and sleep. And then his family would yell at him for sleeping,” Gabriel Sanchez said.
Even after settling as a family unit in the U.S., trouble would follow the brothers to school.
Ricardo said, “Because I came here at an older age, I kept my accent. Because of my accent, people would pick fights with me in school.”
In response to questions about outreach for the event, Dean of Students Dennis Franco said, “I believe there are some follow up events planned.”
After a while the crowd ran out of questions for the brothers. As the space cleared out, students gave thanks to them for sharing their stories.