Mario Alvarado Cifuentes was born and spent the first eight years of his life in Retalhuleu, Guatemala. His parents desire to provide a better future for their children, combined with safety concerns, pushed his family to immigrate to the Bay Area in 2001. Having to grow up away from his homeland sparked Mario’s curiosity to learn more about the home he left behind. This curiosity ultimately led him to the University of California, Berkeley, where Mario recently graduated with a B.A. in Latin American Studies with a focus on Guatemala-US relations.
While at Berkeley, Mario obtained a more in depth understanding of Guatemalan immigration to the United States. The combination of his knowledge of immigration patterns and growing up as an undocumented immigrant gave Mario a passion to study immigration law. This is reflected in his honors thesis titled Cancellation of Removal for Non-LPR’s: The Executive Branch’s Plenary Power Over the Exercise of Discretion. Mario’s desire to be an advocate for undocumented immigrants and his interest in Guatemala has shaped his goal of obtaining a law degree and a PhD.
Mario is very excited to be placed with Legal Services for Children during his time as a DreamSF Fellow. His primary responsibility while at LSC is to assist with the DACA project, providing essential services to other DACA-eligible young people. Moreover, he will also be helping with “Know Your Rights” and clinic events. Most importantly, Mario feels privileged to have an opportunity to work with and contribute to LSC’s mission of helping young people achieve safety and stability in their lives.
During his free time, Mario enjoys traveling and learning as much as possible about Latin America. In the summer of 2016 he had the opportunity to spend five weeks studying abroad in Argentina. One of the highlights of his trip was going zip lining over the Mendoza River.