If the Dream Act ever had a public face, it belonged to Juan Gomez.
Weeks after his 2007 graduation from Killian Senior High, the undocumented teen was rounded up by immigration officials and nearly deported to his native Colombia.
His classmates launched a social media campaign to keep him in the country — and lawmakers took unprecedented steps to make it happen. Gomez later won a full scholarship to Georgetown University and landed a top-paid job with JPMorgan Chase in New York City. He told his story on Capitol Hill to advocate for the Dream Act, a proposed bill that would provide undocumented young adults with a pathway to citizenship.
But Gomez’s own pathway came to an abrupt end last month, after his temporary work permit expired and the application he filed for a new one got tied up in a deluge of similar requests from other young immigrants.
Unemployed and needing to support his parents, the 24-year old had little choice but to leave the United States. Today, he’s working for an investment firm in São Paulo, Brazil, with little chance of ever returning to the United States.
For Gomez, the American dream got derailed.