Mariano is one of the many undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors; this group of people is called DREAMers.
At the age of 17, Mariano packed a bag to leave his hometown Morelia, a city in the Mexican state Michoacán. Mariano’s parents had decided they should take the risk of crossing the border between Mexico and Arizona.
Mariano was the middle child with a younger brother and an older sister. Their parents realized they could no longer live on just beans and tortillas, that’s what Mariano’s brother Abraham described as a “good meal” for those who weren’t rich in Morelia. There also weren’t many jobs available, and the state’s government was filled with corruption according to Mariano, Abraham and their mother Teresa. Some of the corruption they experienced firsthand was a time when they were robbed. Mariano’s father learned who the thief was and reported that person to the police. Because the thief had a family tie to a cop, Mariano’s father was the one put in jail.
“People like me, like all immigrants, they know that if you leave your country, your place where you were born, it’s because it’s a big necessity on your life,” Mariano said.
Life Undocumented follow’s Mariano’s journey as an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. and the struggles he’s seen trying to gain legal status because he is already here illegally. For him to apply, he’d have to return to Mexico for 10 years, and then try applying before entering America.
He was given slight hope when President Barack Obama was going to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which allows minors who were brought to the U.S. without documentation to apply for legal status. Mariano had missed the initial DACA, which was for minors who were 16 and under, by one year. A federal court in Texas, in which 25 other states also joined the lawsuit to keep the DACA expansion from being implemented, blocked the expansion. Nevada was part of those 25 other states in addition to Texas. So for now, Mariano continues his 17-year wait to try to gain legal status in the country he calls home.
The above photo gallery is from a protest in November 2015 in response to Nevada’s attorney general joining the lawsuit that blocked Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA) and the expansion of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).