Embarking on a journey to Harvard Law School was a path I never could have imagined as a child.

The decision to move to the United States at the age of seven marked the beginning of a profound transformation. From squeezing our entire lives into a single cramped room, fearing the constant threat of deportation, to enduring the hardships of living in garages, campers, and even a car, our journey underscored a saga filled with adversities. Yet, amidst the turmoil, I discovered the power of resilience and the unbreakable bond of family.

Determined to overcome the odds, I devoted myself to learning English, fully aware that education was my avenue to endless opportunities. This belief propelled me to work hard, both in school and through various jobs to support my family. From the age of eight to the time I graduated college, I worked countless jobs to help support my family, such as mowing lawns and making chips at a tortilla factory. Each of these jobs imparted invaluable lessons in humility and the importance of giving back to my community.

The Impact of DACA

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was a pivotal moment in my life, offering a semblance of security and the freedom to dream bigger. It was through DACA that I could finally envision a future where my aspirations were within reach. However, just as I was beginning to find my footing, my DACA status was rescinded during my first year at the University of Southern California, punctuating one of the hardest periods in my life.

Unlike other obstacles I had encountered, this setback could not be resolved through my own actions. The loss of my on-campus job and the uncertainty about my future weighed heavily on my mind, leading to a decline in my academic performance. Yet, I refused to let this setback define me. Instead, I drew strength from the countless hours I spent at food banks, the physical toll of manual labor, and, above all, the unwavering love and support of my family.

Finding Community at HLS

At HLS, I found strength in community through affinity groups like La Alianza and First Class. These affinity groups have been a source of inspiration and belonging. They remind me that while my journey might be unique, I am not alone. Through La Alianza and First Class I found a community that celebrated diversity, fostered inclusion, and empowered us to champion change. I found further grounding through my involvement in the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic and the Harvard Immigration Project, where I advocated for individuals whose narratives mirrored my own.

While DACA’s eventual reinstatement facilitated my journey to where I am today, my experiences as an undocumented student have taught me that I possess the resilience to overcome even the toughest of obstacles.

As the future of DACA remains uncertain, it’s clear that the struggles faced by Dreamers persist. To aspiring law students and young dreamers alike, remember to cling tightly to your dreams, regardless of the obstacles in your path.

Recognize your inherent value and perceive adversity as a catalyst for personal development; each setback merely paves the way for eventual success. Crucially, seek out supportive communities and nurturing environments, and actively seek mentorship opportunities. Embrace your individual identity and past experiences, for they form the solid foundation upon which you’ll build your future successes.

As I reflect on my journey from Mexico to Harvard Law, I am reminded of the power of resilience, education, and community. As you move forward, carry with you the light of possibility, the warmth of community, and the strength of your convictions, knowing that beyond borders and barriers, there lies a world of possibilities.

Read the blog post below to learn more about Jesus’s journey and involvement in Harvard Immigration Project (HIP) and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic (HIRC).

If you have further questions about my journey to HLS, please feel free to email me at jcarreon@jd25.law.harvard.edu.

–Jesus Carreon ’25

Filed in: Student Voices

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