MIAMI, Fla. (WRBL) – Back in 2002 what began as a fun family trip to the United States for Genesis Carrero’s family ended up being a permanent move for the Venezuelan natives. At the age of four Carrero’s parents quickly realized the endless number of possibilities that their daughter had in the states were much greater than in comparison to their homeland, that was quickly spiraling downward under its dictatorship with its President, Hugo Chávez.

While Carrero’s parents were financially well off with great jobs and a beautiful home to match, the living conditions in which they lived under were not. Their home had been broken into multiple times and they were robbed on countless occasions.

That was the moment they knew that in order to provide for a better future for their daughter they had to make the ultimate sacrifice. With no secured job, no family members, nor friends to help them, just the clothes on their backs and the money in their pockets, Carrero’s family came to the United States.

Committed to attending college and fully aware of the challenges that would arise in order to make her educational dreams come true, in 2017 Carrero was granted admission to Florida International University. Even during her hardest moments when she had to work two full time jobs to help out with the bills while juggling school, Carrero’s main motivation was always her parents.

“I knew anything was better than what they had overcome to get here.” Carerro said.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a policy that protects around 800,000 young people — known as “DREAMers” — who entered the United States unlawfully as children. The Obama administration introduced the DACA program as a stopgap to prevent deportation for the millions of undocumented children living in the U.S. This gave individuals an opportunity to continue on with their lives, though it didn’t promise citizenship.

Now in a global pandemic, the struggles for Carerro as a DREAMer have only increased. DACA recipients do not receive any federal benefits, like Social Security, college financial aid, or food stamps, which has made things that much more difficult for Carerro.

“When COVID first hit, I still had three full semesters to pay off and was in the middle of making my split payments for the spring term. Thankfully, I had enough saved up to where I was able to finish paying that semester,” said Carrero. “The struggle came shortly after because I had lost my two jobs, and as a DACA recipient I don’t receive any FAFSA and didn’t qualify for the CARES Act, so everything I paid comes out of my pocket, but I didn’t have anything to pay going forward.”

In order to pay the tuition for what is now her last semester in college Carerro’s father had to work multiple one-off jobs without a secured position. or official hiring.

“My parents have had to work hard jobs compared to what they had in their country. Long hours, low pay, it’s all a part of the “American Dream” you get sold when you come here” said Carerro.

The spread of COVID-19 in Florida and the indefinite closure of multiple businesses has affected immigrants and DACA recipients the most.

“Seeing them struggle the way they have all these years first-hand has made me feel so emotionally distraught, but it has also fueled me to work that much harder, to achieve what they set out for me to do and give back to them.” said Carerro.

Carerro will now be a first-generation college graduate, she hopes to continue on with schooling and earn a master’s degree in order to achieve the ultimate American Dream.