I am a Dreamer.
I was born in Nigeria in 1996. At the age of 3, my family moved to the U.S. for my dad’s job. He was sponsored and had a work visa. We had paperwork. We came to America and were allowed to stay.
But after the recession his company shut down and along with it, our ability to renew our paperwork. At that time we had just bought a home, my mom was pregnant, and my brother was already a U.S. citizen because he was born here. It wasn’t rational to go back to Nigeria so we stayed. My parents wanted us to grow up in America for all the opportunity it had for us.
Growing up as an undocumented immigrant in America has been challenging, frustrating, and at times, scary.
I’ve been on the 20-year long waiting list for citizenship for 9 years. Without a social security number, I had to make up excuses as to why I couldn’t get a drivers license in high school. I couldn’t work. As an undocumented immigrant, I couldn’t leave the country without it being considered ‘self-deportation’. I never got to meet my grandparents, and when they died, my family couldn’t go back to Nigeria to bury them.
In 2012, President Obama signed an executive order that gave undocumented children who came to the U.S. before 2007 a chance— DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. I got a social security number. I got a drivers’ license. I found opportunities to work. DACA gave me a chance to have the American dream.
A few days ago, my chance got taken away.
My name is Toyosi Shusi. I’m passionate about fashion because it’s a way to outwardly express yourself and an extension of your personality. I’m passionate about finding joy in the little things and staying positive. I’m passionate about family, and friends, and making music. I’m passionate about creativity, because it’s empowering to be able to turn your ideas into reality.
I am a Dreamer. And a designer, and a believer, and a creator. When will America open its arms to me again?