Mayra Rubio was 3 months old when she moved to Homestead with her brother and parents from Guadalajara, Mexico.
After she graduated from South Dade Senior High, she realized she could not afford the out-of-state tuition for public colleges and universities. Undocumented students do not get the opportunity to pay in-state tuition rates.
So instead, Mayra worked with her father in the fields and groves of South Miami-Dade County. She picked and packed avocados and mangos.
“I would see my friends move on [and] pursue their dreams,” she says. “I felt stuck, like I wasn’t moving anywhere.”
Florida lawmakers have been debating allowing students like Mayra to pay in-state college tuition rates for public colleges and universities. The Senate is passed an amended version of the bill Thursday. It goes back to the House–which passed an earlier version–one more time.
Mayra didn’t have to wait for the vote. She’s paying in-state tuition as a student at Miami-Dade College after her Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals application was approved.
With her degree, Mayra wants to help people in Mexico.
“I want to help them with education because I know it’s key to move on in life,” she says.
But her application expires after two years, and she just completed her first year, majoring in business.
Mayra says DACA helps, but is not a guarantee to all undocumented immigrants who want an affordable college education. She says if this bill passes, “it would just make a great difference in our lives.”
And if the bill doesn’t pass?
“I would be devastated,” she says. “We’re gonna keep pushing until we get it. I plan on keeping working and keep on going to school. I’m not gonna give up.”