By Rene Rauda
Single, hard-working father Hector Casas, an East Los Angeles College student under the Dream Act accomplished his goal to transfer for fall.
As an undocumented student, his dream is to one day attend Cal-State Long Beach or the University College of Los Angeles. Once he attends to either those, Casas plans to major in history.
In the past, he faced hard times not caring about breaking the law nor did he considered his future. When his son was born, it became the turning point in his life and proof that he needed to change as a person for his child.
The relationship the mother had with the son showed that she didn’t pay the necessary attention to the child. Casas knew he had to do everything in his power to gain primary custody over him and provide more for his child with the help of his family.
He got custody of his son when he was two years old. Now, his son is ten years old and doing very well in school under the guidance of Casas which he is satisfied with.
Casas was accepted to UC Santa Barbara, one of the UC’s he applied to but can’t go because he has a court order to not leave the county.
If he does decide to attended UC Santa Barbara, by the order of the court he has to leave his son to the mother. “My fear is if I leave him with the mom, she is not going to care much,” Casas said.
Education is very important for him and his son as well. “I really care about his education, that is priority to me,” Casas said.
He does whatever he can to make sure his son continues with his studies like he did. Casas does a lot for his son, like driving him to school every day while being a student himself, giving his son the ability to know that his father is there to help him with any questions he might have.
Making ends meet is by all means difficult for him since he is unable to apply for work. Without a social security number, his only means of income is working under the table and relying on government aid. At one point, Casas was working and attending school, but was soon laid off.
“The reason why I was laid off is because there wasn’t any work,” Casas said. Furthermore, he is unable to apply for unemployment due to not having a social security number.
Luckily, the place he is renting is only $400 a month Casas said, that is more than enough for him.
Being deported was one of the reasons Casas believes that having an education is very important. Without any knowledge of the law, the immigration officer at the time told him to sign the voluntary departure because he felt there was no other choice. “Now looking back at retrospect, I could have stayed if I knew my rights but I didn’t know anything about law,” Casas said.
Casas is a dedicated student at ELAC, continuing to improve his education with the help of the Dream Act. But this, it didn’t stop him from continuing to demonstrate what a great father he is to his son. “One of the most important things, if you’re educated, is that you can pretty much do anything,” Casas said.