Jose Santoyo was 8 years old when his father and grandfather were murdered.
His mother found their bodies in Aparandan, a rural area of Michoacan, Mexico, where they lived. His family immediately fled to the nearby town of Tacambero, but his mother’s second-grade education wasn’t enough to support Santoyo and his siblings.
So they crossed the border without paperwork in Nogales, Arizona, and eventually settled in Corsicana.
“I think [immigration is] very complex, and in order to understand it, you have to find out what is impacting people in these countries that makes them want to migrate or makes them want to move,” he told the Advocate in 2016. “A lot of times, when you have these refugee crises, it’s because the crime and violence and poverty and other issues, of course.”
Santoyo, an SMU graduate student, is one of nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants now at risk for deportation since President Donald Trump revoked the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“That’s kind of scary for me if I were to lose my DACA, because I feel like right now it’s like a bubble that’s protecting me,” he said.
Read his story, along with other SMU students’ stories, here.
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