Maria Atanacio is currently a sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley majoring in Latin American Studies. Maria hopes to pursue studies in education and public policy for her undergraduate education as well. Originally from Hidalgo, Mexico, Maria immigrated with her family to Los Angeles when she was 10 years old.
Raised in Los Angeles in a community perceived as “low income” influenced Maria’s passion for higher education and propelled her to pursue a career in immigration law. As an immigrant herself with immigrant parents and friends, Maria has experienced firsthand the fear of living in the U.S and the uncertainty of a “better future”. This has shaped her strong belief for a need for a better immigration system for the millions of immigrants living in the U.S.
As a DACA recipient, Maria is grateful for the opportunity to acquire a work permit and the benefits that come with DACA. However, she wants to pursue law school to help not only undocumented students, but also immigrants who are left out from current immigrant policies.
For the DreamSF Fellowship, Maria is currently working closely with immigration attorneys at her placement with La Raza Resource Community Center. She is expanding her knowledge regarding immigration law through cases and application forms that benefit different immigrant communities. Maria translates and organizes documents crucial to client’s cases to successfully obtain well deserve status.