Rompiendo Paredes - We're here to stay: A film uncovering the struggles undocumented students face


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Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Robin Millar

Second Advisor

Caesar Ortiz


For my honors thesis, I have decided to create a video with the intentions of portraying the struggles and barriers undocumented/DACA students have had to and still face.

Undocumented individuals either came to the U.S. legally and their temporary status expired or came to the U.S. illegally and have remained living in the country without permission (The University of Texas at Austin, 2019). DACA is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals act that allows people to temporarily live in the U.S. legally (Undocumented Student Program, 2019). There are many prerequisites and the whole process has a great cost. Less than 10% of undocumented high school graduates go to college and there are many states that prohibit providing undocumented students with in-state tuition (The University of Texas at Austin, 2019). Undocumented students cannot work legally, they are not allowed to have a license, they do not receive any financial government help, they cannot vote, or leave the country. These factors create more problems than one may realize. While DACA students have the privilege to work and get a license, the rules become stricter because of their status. Any small problem can mean deportation. This means getting ripped away from their homes, their families, their whole lives. Most of these individuals have lived in the U.S. most of their lives but they get sent back to a place they barely know. While all these factors are physical, they do create psychological issues. There is trauma, depression, anxiety, and other disorders that undocumented/DACA students face because of their status (Aranda, Vaquera, 2017). People do not realize this and that is why I feel it is my responsibility as an immigrant, a DACA student, to make as many people aware that these issues impact us extensively.

My video will consist of interviews and real life experiences from undocumented/DACA students. There will be a focus on legal, financial, and psychological issues.


The University of Texas at Austin. (2019). What does it mean to be undocumented? Retrieved from

Aranda, E., Vaquera, E. (2017). How DACA affected the mental health of undocumented young adults. Retrieved from

Undocumented Student Program. (2019). What is DACA? Retrieved from

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted

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