Islia Anzol says going to college is her dream. She is a senior at West High School, who came to Bakersfield with her family six years ago from Guadalajara, Mexico. Anzol is 17 years old but can't drive or get a job because she doesn't have a social security number.
"It hurts me because I can't do much," she said. "I see all these people who can do so much, and I'm like why can't I do it too?"
Anzol came with her family to Arvin High School's library on Saturday afternoon to get help with filling out the 6-page Deferred Action application.
"It's really complicated because it asks so many questions," she said. "I'm not sure really what goes in each box."
The Deferred Action program would allow hundreds of young people in Kern County, who came to the U.S. as children without documentation to work in the country without fear of deportation for at least two years.
The College Dream Fund founded by Jim Young in Arvin put on the workshop to help local applicants get on a path to become U.S. citizens.
"It's not a huge number, but it's going to help a sizable group of young people, who are being shut out of higher education who can help our economy," said Young, whose organization gives dozens of scholarships to undocumented students each year. "Our country has changed over time for the better because we have consistently given people an opportunity for a better education for a better life because they've been barred from that."
Going to college would give Verenice Colmenares a chance to get a one step closer to her goal of becoming an event and wedding coordinator.
"In the summer, I go to work in the fields," said Colmenares, an Arvin High School sophomore. "I want to be able to get out of that and actually have a better job where I could be able to go to college and achieve what I want to."
Elvia Rios came to California when she was six months old. Now, she's studying mechanical engineering at Bakersfield College. She sent in her Deferred Action application the day after it came out and has already received a response giving her a biometrics appointment time.
"I can serve as an example to people, who are still thinking about applying and can tell them what the process is going to be like," Rios said.
Anzol said she can't imagine not living in the U.S. anymore because it's her home.
"This country has so many opportunities and I've been growing up here," Anzol said. "I think for my family, it would mean a lot because they didn't go to high school or anything, so for me going to college is like an honor."
The College Dream Fund plans to have a follow-up workshop for the Deferred Action application. You can call 854-1105 for more information.