When Jorge Reyes Salinas was 10, his parents cobbled together enough money to leave Peru to start a new life in Los Angeles. They wanted a better future for their only son, who thought he was going to Disneyland.
Reyes Salinas didn’t understand what his lack of legal status meant until, as a sophomore in high school, he was encouraged to enroll in advanced classes at a local community college. The forms asked for a Social Security number, which he did not have.
State support made it possible for him to attend the one university he applied to: Cal State Northridge. Because he couldn’t qualify for any federal financial aid, he went by bus to a machine shop after class each day and worked 30 to 40 hours a week.