The immigration issue is hotly debated by both politicians and citizens.  Some argue that illegal immigrants should wait their turn in line to come here legally.  Others argue that amnesty is the way to go.

While we see many stories of illegals who commit crimes in the U.S. when they’re here illegally, we don’t often see stories of those who excel.  Dan-el Padilla Peralta falls into the latter category, and his story, Undocumented, is truly inspiring.

Dan-el came to the United States legally with his dad and his pregnant mother when he was four years old.  His mother was having complications with her pregnancy, so she came to the United States for medical care.  His brother, Yando, was born in the U.S. and is a legal resident.

After some time, Dan-el’s father wanted to move back to the Dominican Republic.  He had a good job there, but in the U.S., he could only find work as a taxi driver.

His mother flatly refused.  She could see that Dan-el was getting a good education at the local school and that he was bright.  Plus, she had been threatened at her job in the Dominican Republic and did not want to return.

In the end, Dan-el’s father returned to the Dominican Republic and the rest of the family stayed in the United States.  When their visas expired, their lives quickly spiraled downward.  Dan-el’s mother was not able to get a legal job for fear of deportation.  Without a job, she had trouble supporting her family, especially since Dan-el’s father rarely sent money for support.  The only food they had was from the food stamps that they got for Yando, the only legal citizen.

Eventually, the family had to move into a homeless shelter.  After a long duration there, they were able to get public housing.  Dan-el writes about two crackheads who would sit on the steps outside his apartment and make way for him, greeting him after school.  He and his brother were not allowed outside after dark because there were frequent shootings.

Amidst this world, Dan-el found a love for reading, especially for Greek and Roman classics.

Thanks to mentors and his own hard work and determination, Dan-el became a true American success story.

His story is remarkable, both for all the odds he overcame as well as how successful he was academically.

His story may also make readers rethink their opinion on illegal immigrants and realize how difficult life can be for someone who didn’t choose to be here illegally but must deal with the consequences.

5 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.

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