Undocumented A&M Student Pushes for Immigration Reform

By: Alex Lotz Email
By: Alex Lotz Email

BRYAN - Jose Zelaya cherishes every time he gets to talk to his mother because at one time, he thought he would never see her again.

"It's one of those things that you always remember," Zelaya says. "it's difficult to explain; to just wave goodbye to a bus and know you might now see her again because of the journey."

As a child, Zelaya watched his mother and sister leave their home in Honduras for a better life in the US. Two years later, after living alone on the streets, the 12-year-old walked nearly 1,500 miles and 45 days to the US border in Harlingen, Texas where he found freedom and prayed to be reunited with his mother.

"So whenever I was in front of that river, I thought of her and I needed her at that moment and whenever I was swimming, river's taking me down, I lose my shoes, I get to the other side, I am walking all muddy, I am thirsty, I am wondering around the desert, I go back to the river and drink river water and my hope was that I would just find my mom."

Soon enough, he did. Zelaya says his mother helped teach him American values and soon, he found himself at Texas A&M as an undergrad, then as a master's student, and now, as a PhD candidate.

"I had no way of succeeding, but life has been great."

To help pay for school, he would crochet. Today, he makes thousands of crochet bracelets for guests as he tour's around the country talking about the nation's need for immigration reform.

"Whatever someone wants to tell me to do to be a citizen of this great nation I love, I'll do it, but currently there is no process."

He's achieved the American dream. Now he wants to ease the pain of others like him.

"On this mother's day I will be celebrating but a lot of mothers will be crying, and that is why I am educating myself because I want to be able to stop some of that pain."

Even though the future is unclear, he is thankful his family can spend another Mother's Day together.

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