From Deported DREAMer to Graduate Student in London

For: Nancy Landa Hernandez
Organizer: Nancy
of $8,000 goal.
Raised by 62 donors
87% Complete
This fundraiser is closed. Thank you for your support!

The Story

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

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on September 27, 2013 by Nancy
Crowdfunding campaign #DreamsWithOutBorder ended a week ago. I was able to raise a total of $7,000 USD. Although I was $1,000 short of the goal, due to a living of cost adjustment of the Mexican government scholarship (Conacyt) I recently received (resulting in a slight award increase), I have now fully funded my academic and housing expenses for the my graduate program in Global Migration.

What was most amazing about this effort was the number of people my story was able to reach. There were over 1,000 social media shares.

Thank you for supporting me along the way. Some of you are longtime friends that I was blessed to have crossed paths at some point in my journey. Others I have not met. Nonetheless, you all have believed in what my story represents. I do not take this lightly and know that I do carry with me the responsibility and commitment to improve the condition of migrants in Mexico and abroad.

I will always be grateful for your vote of confidence in me.

If you have done so yet, please follow my MundoCitizen blog as I will post regular updates about my journey in grad school.

Yours truly,


p.s. I have also posted a recent picture of me in front of my school (University College London) during my orientation.

Posted on September 19, 2013 by Nancy
I received my student visa yesterday and took a flight the same day (that thankfully I did not have to cancel) so that I could make it on time for my program enrollment tomorrow.

I arrive today today at London and made it safely to the university dorms where I will be housed for the duration of my program.

Thank you everyone for the ongoing support and hope to finish strong in the last couple of days left of the fundraiser.


Posted on September 16, 2013 by Nancy

With your help, I am very close to reaching the fundraising goal (currently at 81%). I have adjusted the deadline of the fundraiser and added a few more days to help with the final push and to match it with the date I am scheduled to enroll in my graduate program (this coming Friday, September 20th). Five more days remain!

Logistically, I am almost set. The only pending item is my UK student visa. The application process for current visa request was started late (on September 3) because I was lacking the funds to meet the financial requirement to quality. The good news is that with what I had at the time I submitted the visa request (in the form of scholarships, donations, and personal savings) I was able to proceed with the application process.

I was notified by the UK Border Agency last week that a decision was made on my visa application, although I am not informed of the final outcome until I receive the documents in person. The paperwork is on its way to the embassy in Mexico City where I had decided to travel with my luggage so I can head straight to London from here. I left Tijuana and had little time to say goodbye to my friends and family so that I could have a chance to keep my enrollment date at UCL given the status of visa application.

It is nerve wrecking to have this process complete so close to my enrollment date but if all goes smoothly, I will be able to still make it on time. I expect to be able to pick up my student visa in the following days. Stay tuned!

Lastly, I would like to share an article that was published yesterday in UT-San Diego about my family's deportation experience and what my life has been after deportation (including my plans to attend graduate school in London):



Posted on September 3, 2013 by Nancy
Stories like mine, those of Dreamers in Mexico, are getting increased media attention here. I believe that the first step in creating a movement is making our struggles visible. Academics estimate that over half a million youth have returned either by choice, due to the difficulties of pursuing their studies without documents, or have been deported.

For spanish speaking followers, I'll like to share a recent TV segment aired this past Friday that gave members of Los Otros Dreamers an opportunity to have a dialogue about the issues we have experienced in integrating into Mexican society and the bureaucratic challenges we face in pursuing an education or finding a job.

You can view my interview in minute 00:01:49 and 00:40:28
Historias como la mia, la que se comparte con Dreamers en México, está empezando a ser de interes a los medios aquí. Yo creo que el primer paso en crear un cambio es el de hacer visible nuestra lucha. Los académicos estiman que mas de medio millón de jóvenes han regresado por elección, a consecuencia de la dificultad de seguir con sus estudios sin documentos, o han sido deportados.
Me gustaría compartir un segmento que salió al aire este viernes pasado que nos brindo la oportunidad a Los Otros Dreamers de terner una diálogo acerca de los obstáculos que nos encontramos en continuar nuestros estudios o en buscar un empleo.
Podrán ver mi entrevista en el minuto 00:01:49 and 00:40:28

Diálogos (Sociedad) Once TV México- Dreamers: sueños inconclusos (29/08/2013)

Posted on August 21, 2013 by Nancy

I'll like to share with you my blog post of this week. I write about that decisive moment when I choose to leave everything behind to study migration in London:

I also would like to thank you again for support and contributions. We are almost reaching 20% of goal.

MundoCitizen Blog

Posted on August 19, 2013 by Nancy
Every donation is truly a blessing and those being made today, the day of my birthday, is truly a gift.

Thank you everyone for making today even more special.



Posted on August 16, 2013 by Nancy

Feeling blessed to have an increasing number of supporters and the help in spreading the word about this fundraising campaing #DreamsWithOutBorders

I would like to share a link to article that was published in this week:

Posted on August 16, 2013 by Nancy

Les comparto mi nota reciente publicada en El Nuevo Sol de Cal State Northridge (CSUN) acerca del apoyo que se le brindo a los nueve soñadores (Dream9) que organizaron la acción de desobediencia civil en Eloy Arizona.

Los dreamers de aquí y de allá son de CSUN

“Aunque para el gobierno de EE.UU, el yo haber cruzando la frontera quedaba en el olvido, para CSUN no fue así. Leer la carta de la presidente de CSUN en apoyo a los dreamers fue el momento que me sentí más orgullosa de ser estudiante graduada de CSUN.”

Posted on August 9, 2013 by Nancy

Thank you everyone! I am very moved by your comments.

Aside for the support this campaign has received in the past few days to move towards its fundraising goal, the most rewarding part has been your words of encouragement. It is a confirmation that I am moving forward in the right direction, and most importantly, I am not doing this alone.

You might have noticed I named this campaign #DreamsWithOutBorders (#SueñosSinFronteras). You can help spread the word with these hash tags for those in Twitter world. You can also connect with me there @mundocitizen.



Posted on August 7, 2013 by Nancy
I was very moved when I received a copy of this letter from California State University Northridge (CSUN) President Dianne F. Harrisonin support of Dream9, asking for their release and urging policy makers to pass comprehensive immigration reform. 

I am glad to see my Alma Mater embrace the Dreamer student population (past and present) as they are a part of the CSUN community. To quote a part of President Harrison's letter:

"I should add that Lizbeth's story [one of the Dream9ers] is not unique at CSUN. Nancy Landa, the university’s first Latina student body president, graduated with honors in 2004 and, following the start of a career in the nonprofit sector, was deported in 2009. She remains engaged in urging immigration reform as well, and her story, along with Lizbeth’s and many other affected students, demonstrate the kind of fine minds andcontributions that will be lost, or which we will not fully benefit from, until immigration reform and the Dream Act are passed. I look forward to continued dialogue on how the higher education community can engage policy-makers and end the stalemate on this complex issue. My hope is that we can work together in some capacity to achieve compassionate immigration reform and protect the future of students whoshare Lizbeth Mateo’s and Nancy Landa’s story."

Thank you CSUN for remembering those dreams that are often forgotten once they cross the border.

For a complete copy of the letter, visit the following link:

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