drafting at Career Tech, which resulted in several job offers he could not
accept due to his legal status.
During his teen years, he wanted to find a job but discovered he had no Social Security number. That's when his parents explained his situation. This pushed him further into isolating himself.
"I was kind of intimidated," he said. "Being Mexican, people make jokes about you being illegal. I told everyone I had a visa, but they made jokes anyway. I felt mad because it was true, but I was afraid to tell them."
His status caught up with him at age 18, the night before his senior prom. He and friends went to a Tulsa club and drank alcohol while there.
When Miguel was in the parking lot, a police officer approached him and arrested him on a misdemeanor complaint for public intoxication. None of his friends were arrested.
"The cop told me when I was arrested that I was going straight back to Mexico," he said. "Another cop said I would not ever get out of jail."
After spending the weekend at the Tulsa County Jail on the public intoxication complaint, he was moved into the unit for immigrants being held by federal officials. He spent nine days there before being released on bond.
The public intoxication count ended with the two-day time served and a $3,000 fine. But he has a March date for immigration court, which he hopes can change with the deferred action program.
An attorney recommended he go forward with the application.
"When the deferred action came out, I was so excited to have this chance," he said. "But that public intoxication is still in my mind and still bothers me."
Of three siblings, two are also applying for deferred action.
"Since we are all Catholic, my mother has been praying to the Mother Mary and the rosary every day," he said. "Because she was left there in Mexico longer, she knows what a bad place it is and doesn't want us to experience that."
Since his arrest, Miguel has stayed on the straight path, attending Tulsa Community College with plans to go to Oklahoma State University.
He pays for it through what he makes roofing and bricklaying, which he learned from his father and brother-in-law.
"I wish I could take a full course load or go to a four-year university," he said. "It's difficult, but I want to show that, even undocumented, we can go to school. I'm motivated by my family and little brother. I want him to see that it's possible to go to college, even as a Dreamer."
Nationally, about 1.76 million youths could be eligible, and between 10,000 and 20,000 of those are in Oklahoma, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
The directive has been criticized as a political move during an election year, with some opponents calling it unconstitutional.
On Thursday, a lawsuit was filed in Dallas by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach -- credited for helping craft strict immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama -- on behalf of 10 immigration enforcement officers.
DREAM Act Oklahoma plans to hold another clinic in October and some information forums in the fall, all to be announced later.
Carrissa Zavala-Gomez, president of the group, said her members are aware of the political arguments against it.
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