CSUN student fights for immigrant rights

Naomi Ogaldez

Undocumented CSUN student Juan Quevedo (right) with fellow students Elijah Porter (left) and Milanes Morejon (center) in a summer pre-law program at Georgia State University. Photo Credit:Naomi Ogaldez / Contributor

Born in, Morelia Michoacán, Mexico, 25-year-old CSUN student Juan Quevedo is undocumented – one of the many hurdles that he has encountered in his race of life. While some squandered their gifts and privileges of birth, Quevedo had to go the extra mile.

Now he is striving to be an example for many generations to come, by being the center of inspiration at CSUN for support of immigration rights and laws that aim to improve immigrant life.

This past year, Quevedo finished his first Presidential term in the Dreams to be Heard club at CSUN, where he conducted CA DREAM act teach sessions, workshops, and presentations to bring awareness of California immigration laws and inspired undocumented immigrant students to pursue higher education.

Quevedo came to the United States at age five not knowing the English language.

He was never encouraged to stay in school. To the contrary, he was constantly being discouraged and told to go in to the landscaping business.

In fifth grade, he obtained his first job at a pizza parlor because he needed to help support his family.

Even with his contribution to the bills and the rent, his family lacked the funds to live a proper life by U.S. standards.

“Never staying in one place long enough to call home. Always going to bed hungry. My childhood was not ideal,” said Quevedo

While he was in the process of graduating high school, his father was deported and died shortly after in Mexico.

This setback in life did not become an obstacle for him or stop him from striving for greatness.

“I persevered and began a pursuit to obtain a higher education,” said Quevedo.

The rejection from peers, programs and schooling for his undocumented status has not stopped him from achieving his goals in life.

His influence on his peers and people that surround him can be seen throughout the various volunteer work he has done for his community.

Quevedo also represented CSUN and Southern California’s undocumented immigrant community at the National Immigrant Rights Law Conference held in Washington DC, in 2011.

There he was able to discuss the latest immigration laws with the top experts on the subject, including lawyers, civil rights organizers, and representatives of the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration Customs.

As an intern for assembly member Felipe Fuentes, District 39, Quevedo has researched the demographic statistics from District 39, conducted neighborhood watch programs and is an active member of community outreach programs.

Not only has he been getting hands on experience with politicians and authorities in the career, he also is getting additional education through various programs he has been admitted to.

He recently finished a highly competetive four-week Pre-Law Undergraduate Scholar program at Georgia State University College of Law. This program helped him gain knowledge and analyze in depth the under-representation in minority groups.

“Everyday I [came] out a new man, willing and ready to defend all unfair, unjust and regressive acts against mankind,” said Quevedo

He has seen many student DREAMers that are in the same position as him, he said. For that reason, he is studying political science to help them out. He would like to practice law to re-interpret the nationality and immigration act.

“One thing I would advise any dreamer is to dream big,” said Quevedo. “We all have the same potential.”