From Deported DREAMer to Graduate Student in London

$7,000raised of $8,000 goal

Beneficiary: Nancy Landa Hernandez Organizer: Nancy

This fundraiser is closed

September 1, 2009 was the day I was forced to cross the San Ysidro border and stepped into Mexico after building a life of almost 20 years in the U.S., my home. I was deported by an inflexible and inhumane immigration system in the middle of the night carrying with me what I had on that same morning I was detained; a purse with $20.00 and a cell phone. I was terrified! However, I was determined to survive this personal tragedy. Almost four years after my deportation, I am looking to begin my graduate studies in Global Migration in London this fall at the University College London (UCL).

This journey will not be easy. The first hurdle to overcome is the educational cost to cover my tuition and living expenses in London. This is a dream I want to make happen and I am almost there. I have secured support from institutions in the form of scholarships, loans, as well as personal savings. I have been able to cover 82% of my education expensesI am asking for your help to raise the remaining 18%.

While living in the U.S., one of my goals was to pursue a graduate degree. Now in Mexico, I began to ask myself, "why should a deportation stop me from pursuing my dreams? We dream on this side of the border too!". So I started to look for options to continue my studies in Mexico and realized that universities would not accept my U.S. undergraduate degree unless I revalidated my studies. However, the revalidation process would be very costly, bureaucratic, and it would still leave me with my degree not fully recognized. I will have to take a significant number of courses to be a "Licenciada" in Mexico.

This motivated me to look for opportunities abroad and found that I could pursue a Masters degree without revalidation in the United Kingdom. They saw in me what two countries failed to recognize. I am honored to have been accepted to a world-class graduate program at UCL.

I am pursuing a Masters in Global Migration because it will support me in my life purpose: To improve the conditions of migrant and refugee communities around the world. Upon completing this program, I will continue to fight for the many Dreamers and their families in Mexico that are being expelled from the U.S. It will take one of us to begin to challenge the status quo to create a fair and just system for all migrants. A Masters degree is a tool that will take me into this path. 

Will you help me make it happen?


Nancy Landa is an immigrant from Mexico who lived in Los Angeles for 19 years from the age of nine and became the first college graduate in her family. After Nancy graduated, she continued to be a productive "citizen" and dedicated her professional life to public service working with community organizations. She paid her taxes, become civically involved and encouraged others to do the same.

As an undergrad student at California State University, Northridge (CSUN), Nancy became a campus leader, encouraging students to integrate service–learning into their educational experience. As a board member of the campus Volunteer Council, she worked with hundreds of non-profit organizations in the Los Angeles area, including the American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, and Habitat for Humanity to develop meaningful long-term service projects for students groups. For her work in civic engagement, she received the "CSU Students Recognized for Community Service (STARS)" award by the CSU Chancellor Charles Reed in 2002.

In 2003, Nancy continued her role as a leader when she became the first Latina president of CSUN's student goverment, Associated Students. She fought against budget cuts to California’s higher education system and successfully led advocacy efforts state-wide.  After finishing her elected-term, Nancy earned a B.S. in Information Systems and received the "Most Outstanding Graduating Senior" award in June, 2004. She then began her professional career in the nonprofit sector to help immigrant and other disadvantaged communities in Los Angeles County.

Three years after her deportation, Nancy engaged in an awareness campaign to educate the general public, in Mexico and abroad, about the issues of U.S. immigration enforcement policies. She became public about her story of deportation. This resulted in national media coverage of her experience to highlight the need for comprehensive immigration reform. Additionally, she started a personal blog to discuss migration issues from a deportee's perspective and has joined social media communities interested in changing immigration laws and improving conditions for returned Dreamers.

Nancy's experience is one of several stories of young immigrants featured in the recently published book "Dreamers: La Lucha de Una Generación Por Su Sueño Americano"(Spanish Edition) by Eileen Truax, a Mexican journalist and writer currently living in Los Angeles. For more info:

Nancy's story will also be featured in Los Otros Dreamers, The Book, a collective of first-person testimonies with full-color photographs, a powerful witness in word and image of voices that fall silent after crossing the border. This bilingual publication is scheduled for release in March 2014. Visit the following site for more details:

For more information on UCL's postgraduate program in Global Migration: 

Follow Nancy on her Blog

Media Coverage Highlights (English and Spanish)

El Nuevo Sol: Desde Tijuana, ex dreamer de CSUN le pide al presidente Obama una reforma migratoria justa
New America Media: From Tijuana Ex-Drearmer Calls for Immigration Reform

La Opinion: Dreamer deportada logra ser becada en Europa
Televisa: Nancy Landa: De indocumentada en California a maestrante en Londres

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