Immigration Fueling Innovation in Silicon Valley

Find a better way. That is the essence of innovation. It also happens to be the crux of the immigration debate in the United States.

Leave it to a former undocumented immigrant to combine the two and crystallize the point.

“Immigration is a form of innovation,” says Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca.

The 26-year-old East Palo Alto, Calif., resident is living proof.

Once a Dreamer—a person who meets the criteria of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, an immigration policy that allows undocumented students access to funding for higher education—Salamanca now is the founder and CEO of DREAMers Roadmap, an app that helps undocumented students find funding for college. The app launched April 13 and is available for Android and iOS.

“[DREAMers Roadmap] empowers students to let them know that there are financial resources available for them to go to college,” explains Salamanca, who came to the United States from Mexico with her family in 1993 when she was 4 and became a legal resident in 2015. “These resources exist. Many undocumented students just don’t know where to find them or how to find them.

“Money is the first issue that targets the Latino family. It’s not grades. It’s not, ‘Am I doing good in school? Do I have the potential? Do I have the ambition?’ Latino students have all of that. But if they don’t have the money, they get kind of stalled. They stop believing in themselves. With this tool, we can help them believe that there is a solution.”

By Eric Ortiz for Truth Dig
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