My name is Him Ranjit and I am undocumented.
I am originally from Nepal. My dad came to the U.S. in 1996 to study and to work to support his family, including extended family. My mom and I migrated here when I was 10, in 2001, to reunite as a family. We came here on a travel visa to visit my dad, but we ended up staying with an expired visa. After my visa expired, my family was classified as being “illegal.” The first time I heard the term was when I became aware of my status. The derogatory term “illegal” has been used to describe me on numerous occasions, though I am American by heart and undocumented because of my status. Overall, my family and community have been pretty supportive of me being open about my status and taking up the immigrant rights cause, even though they were hesitant in the beginning. We’re fighting for our lives and we won’t stop until we win.
I grew up in Euless, Texas, a city between Dallas and Fort Worth. The community I grew up in was very diverse and accepting of different cultures. I grew up in this country envisioning a great future as an American. But on the path to my dreams, I have found roadblocks everywhere I go due to the broken immigration system. From trying to get into a university to getting a drivers license to working part-time to pay for school, I’ve had to go through obstacles because of my status over things that some consider commonplace.
I am a future engineer studying Biomedical Engineering and Government at University of Texas, Austin. I am an active student here in the UT community, involved in University Leadership Initiative, getting people out to vote and being involved in sports and other activities. I am, by any means, like many UT Austin sophomore students: I study till late at night, work out in Gregory Gym, go to the football games, stand in the long lines at Wendy’s and sometimes nap on the couches of the Texas Union in between classes. I am very much like everybody in this university, except for a nine-digit number to identify me.