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Cesar is a sophomore in college, an honors student who loves tennis and soccer. His dream is to become a neuroscientist.

Cesar’s future hinges on The Dream Act, controversial legislation that the U.S. Congress has been debating for 10 years.

The Dream Act would allow undocumented youth, who arrived in the United States before they were 16, to apply for citizenship. They must be enrolled in college or the military, have proof of five consecutive years of residency, and be of “good moral character.”

Cesar is one of over a million undocumented youth who live in the United States. Many have lived here longer than in their home countries. They’ve been integrated into American culture and wish to become citizens.

A movement in the immigrant communities is underway. As a form of protest, Cesar and may other undocumented youth have publicly revealed their status. They hope to shape future legislation that may give them a path to citizenship.

While revealing his status could jeopardize his family, Cesar feels like he has no other choice. Without a path to legal citizenship, Cesar’s life after college remains uncertain. As he says, “I’ll have a degree, but I won’t be able to use it.”

Nine Digits is a product of the MediaStorm Storytelling Workshop, where participants work alongside MediaStorm staff to create an intimate, character-driven documentary in just one week. Learn more about upcoming MediaStorm workshops and online training at mediastorm.com/train.

Published: August 26, 2011


Photography & Video: Gabriela Bulisova, Meredith Davenport
Editor: Dominik Baumann
Producers: Tim McLaughlin, Jennifer Redfearn
Associate Producer: Lauren Rosenfeld
Executive Producer: Brian Storm
Workshop Director: Jessica Stuart
Graphics: Jacky Myint

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