Dominican University alum Carlos Alberto Benitez Cruz ’21 was interviewed by WBEZ to mark the 10-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The program, aimed at protecting undocumented young people from deportation if they were brought to the United States as children, has not worked, Cruz believes.

“I do not call myself a dreamer,” Cruz said in the interview. “I’m just an undocumented person.”

Cruz, who received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and study of women and gender from Dominican University, is a Ph.D. student in community and prevention research at the University of Illinois at Chicago. A scholarship from TheDream.US, which helps undocumented students attend college, allowed Cruz to attend Dominican University. Dominican expanded its partnership with TheDream.US during the 2021-22 academic year, opening up educational opportunities to even more undocumented students. 

But an education has provided no guarantees of permanent citizenship, according to Cruz.

“I actually don’t know if I’m going to be able to get a job, that I’m going to have citizenship, that I’m going to be able to work legally at an institution,” Cruz said. “And that’s where the dreamer narrative crumbles for me because I’ve done the things that are supposedly exemplary of an immigrant who deserves to get citizenship.”

Read or listen to the interview at WBEZ.