Wharton junior Tania Chairez is perhaps the most recognizable undocumented student on campus. Last year, she was arrested in front of the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office for blocking traffic as part of a protest. While she’s taking a break from civil disobedience campaigns, Chairez said that “if there is a need for it again, for me to really take action—I will.”
Chairez was born in Chihuahua, Mexico—four hours away from the U.S. border. In 1998, when she was five years old, her family travelled to United States on a tourist visa and never left. She grew up in Phoenix, Arizona. She is a Marketing major but plans to go to law school.
“It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I will have a Social Security number and that I will be able to work. I had made plans to volunteer or get an unpaid internship this summer.”
Engineering sophomore Alfredo Muniz (left) came to the United State when he was one, disguised as a girl. His parents, who were farmers in Mexico, swam across a river while Alfredo and his brother used their cousins’ documents to enter the country.
He grew up in Houston, Tx and has been dating fellow Engineering sophomore Sade Oba (right) for five years. When Alfredo told Sade that he wouldn’t be able to go to college because of his undocumented status, she refused to believe him. “We came up with a list of 82 schools and he called and emailed each school to see which would take him,” she said. “We narrowed it down to 17 that could take him, but after some time, it was clear that there were only around seven. A lot of schools say that they will, but you have to be a rich undocumented student.”
They both received likely letters from Penn and plan on sub-matriculating into graduate programs in Engineering