Parthiv Patel, DREAMer

Cory Booker
American DREAMers
Published in
6 min readDec 22, 2017

I was brought to the United States from India at age 5 and received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status in 2012. I graduated from Drexel University’s Thomas R. Kline School of Law in May 2016. Thereafter, took and passed bar exams in Pennsylvania and New Jersey in July 2016, but in October 2016, he was notified that he would not be admitted to the Pennsylvania bar because of my DREAMer status.

The ACLU of Pennsylvania and cooperating counsel appealed the denial of my Pennsylvania law license to the Board of Law Examiners. After a year, on November 21, the board recommended my admission to the bar. Judge Lisa M. Rau of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas administered the oath of admission to Patel yesterday. Nevertheless, my application for bar admission in New Jersey is still pending.

You can find the press release here and all more information about the case here.

Tell me about your family. When did you come to America?

I came to America at the age of 5. I live in a mixed-status family in which my wife (a first grade teacher) and younger brother (who is still in high school) are United States citizens.

Tell me more about your childhood and growing up in America?

I have lived in New Jersey since I came to America. When I first arrived to America, we use to live in North Jersey. My parents use to work 14-hour shifts overnight. As such, my mother’s aunt who worked and lived in a 10x10 motel room use to take care of me at night. Everyday, I would come home from school, pack my bags, and get dropped off at the motel. Here, I would be alone in the room as my great-aunt would be cleaning the rooms. In the mornings, I would be picked up, go home, and then off to school. This did not leave much time for me to interact with my parents. After living in North Jersey for a couple of years, my family moved to South Jersey. Specifically, I we lived in Cherry Hill. This is where I did most of my schooling. I went of Clara Barton Elementary School, Carusi Middle School and Cherry Hill High West. Here, my parents continued to work long hours too. By this time, I had a baby brother. In the mornings, I would have to get myself ready and get my brother ready. I would pack his bag, put him in a stroller, and drop him off at a family friend’s house before I went to school. As you can imagine, this left little time for me to interact with my parents and forced me to grow up earlier than most children did in my neighborhood. However, I don’t blame my parents. They worked tirelessly to ensure our financial needs were met. They use to sacrifice so much so that my brother and I could live a normal life. I remember once, there was a week long class trip to Mount Misery. I wanted to go but I knew my parents wouldn’t be able to afford it so I didn’t say anything to them about it. Then one day my teacher asked if I was coming and I couldn’t hold my emotions in. Not because I wanted to go but because I knew how much my family struggled. In the end my parents found out and scrapped together enough money even though I knew they couldn’t afford to send me just to see me happy and life a normal life.

How has DACA helped you?

DACA has helped me because it has finally given me a sense of security. Being an undocumented immigrant is a stressful experience. There is this constant fear that the life you have lived for the past X amount of years can be taken away from you at anytime. Aside from the emotional benefit, DACA has also given me tangible benefits such as being able to go to law school and establish a career, marriage, and overall life with a sense of security.

What are your biggest hopes and fears right now?

My biggest hope is that Congress does act to save the DREAMers. DREAMers generally are the type of people that do not let opportunities pass by them. Generally speaking, when DREAMers received DACA, they, like me, began to build their lives. They bought cars, homes, went to school, and began careers in the hopes of living the American Dream. With the recision of DACA, I check the news at an unhealthy rate seeing if there was any movement in Congress to address the DACA issue. My biggest hope is that Congress does act and DREAMers can capitalize on it to continue pursuing their own dreams and aspirations. My biggest fear is that Congress does not act. In this case, I honestly don’t know what I would do. I feel as though everything I have worked for would go to waste. Moreover, I would not be able to burden the hardship I would put my wife through. Her dreams and aspirations are tied to mine. If I lose DACA and subsequently unable to pursue my dreams, it was directly have an impact on her as well. I fear the guilt that would follow knowing that I let her down.

What are your dreams for the future?

With DACA, my dreams for the future are endless. Specially, I would like to use my law degree for the greater good. As I mentioned above, my parents worked tirelessly and they were able to save a decent amount of money to by a partnership in a business. However, they were taking advantage of by the partner and he took all the money my parents put into the business. My parents, being trustful people, had no recourse. I would want to use my law degree to ensure things like that don’t happen again. Yes, it is my duty to be a zealous advocate for my client. But that doesn’t mean that people must be inappropriately taken advantage of. Moreover, I aspire to be an elected official one day. Being a DREAMer gives you a greater ability to empathize with people and understand their struggles and frustrations because you yourself have likely gone through them. This is what is missing in some elected officials today. They lose the ability to empathize with this constituents. In doing so, they lose the ability to constantly keep their constituents interests at the forefront of their decision making. As such, I aspire to be an elected official that can empathize with my constituents and use that as a way to constantly keep their interest at the forefront of my decision making process.

What is your message to other Americans, members of Congress, and the President?

My message to them is simple: DREAMers are Americans. Like President Obama said, we are American in every way except on paper. We are your children’s friends, classmates, the person treating your illness, providing you sound legal advice, doing your taxes, and holding the door open for you as you run into Wawa. Please put partisan politics aside, and do the right thing — the thing that most American agree one — give DREAMers legal status because DREAMers are Americans.