With just three classes and an internship to complete, Henry is poised to graduate from George Mason University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work with a GPA of 3.8. His dream is to become a social worker and assist others in the United States overcome the challenges similar to what he experienced during his traumatic journey to escape violence in El Salvador, and later, the obstacles he has faced since arriving in the United States.
Henry grew up in an impoverished family in El Salvador. At the age of 14, as an unaccompanied minor, he embarked upon a dangerous journey to the United States, fleeing both the poverty and the mortal violence of local gangs. Kidnapped in transit by the Mexican Drug Cartel and held captive for a month, he witnessed horrific wrongdoings that he cannot, even after many years, bring himself to speak about. Ultimately, Henry found himself in Virginia, where he enrolled in a high school with a flexible work-study program, which allowed him to support himself and send money back home to his family. In school, Henry was stellar in every way, tutoring math to those who struggled, winning the Presidential Merit Award, and graduating second in his class. After earning an Associate’s Degree at Northern Virginia Community College, he transferred to George Mason University to pursue his Bachelor’s Degree.
Although in reality Henry met the requirements to obtain DACA, because he was unaccompanied and a 14 year-old child when he arrived in the U.S., he did not collect and save the specific documents that the process required. As a result of his undocumented status, he faces many additional challenges, such as paying out-of-state college tuition rates, and the inability to get a driver’s license. He strives to give back to his adopted home, and humbly seeks to become a “real American boy.”