My name is Nicte Diaz Cortes and I am a proud freshman at Virginia Commonwealth University, fan of the ballet, loving daughter, older sister and an undocumented American.
I am referred to me as a DREAMer — one of the many undocumented Americans who came as young children and know no other home than the United States.
As a DREAMer, I have a lot on the line this November — in fact I have everything to lose. Who becomes the next president will determine if I can continue living and studying in the only place I call home or if I will be torn away from my family and friends.
On one hand, we have a candidate who understands the struggle of immigrants, seeking a better life for themselves and their families. And on the other hand, we have a candidate who plans to tear families apart with a deportation force to round us up and build a wall to keep us out of the only country we know as home.
Contrary to Donald Trump’s assertion, I am not a criminal nor a rapist. I am a college student seeking to build a good life for myself, just like every other student on this campus.
Hillary Clinton understands this, she believes America is stronger together. Stronger when we embrace immigrants, not denigrate them. Stronger when we protect families, not tear them apart. Stronger when we build bridges, not walls.
Clinton knows the DREAM Act and comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship is not only good for our economy, it is true to our values as Americans.
As students, we have a lot on the line as well. Tuition and student debt keep increasing. For many, the costs are far too great to bear or alternatively, they have to take on a mountain of student debt that will take much of their life to pay off.
Clinton believes this is unacceptable and will fight to ensure that unmanageable costs and debt will no longer hold anyone back from seeking higher education.
Clinton’s New College Compact includes a proposal to make 4-year college tuition free for households making below $125,000 and establishes universal free community college that will make it easier for us to focus on our studies and not constantly worry about how we will make ends meet.
Trump has yet to release a plan to help students afford college, which shows where his priorities lie.
So the stakes are high for all of us this cycle. I urge my fellow students to register to vote by Oct. 17 and join me in voting for Clinton on Nov. 8.
Nicte Diaz Cortes, freshman