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Abandoned As Child In U.S., Ventura County Woman Earning Citizenship And College Degree


Graduating from college can be a huge challenge. There’s the grades you need to be admitted, the studying, the tests, and of course the bills. But, it was much more complicated for a woman who is graduating from California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks this weekend.

Sandy Gonzalez is from a small town in Mexico, outside of Mexico City.  Her mother moved to California, and when the little girl was six, sent for her. Gonzales says she was so little, she didn’t realize how dangerous it was to be smuggled into the U.S.

A year later, Sandy’s mother gave birth to her brother in the U.S. But then, when the little girl was eight, her mother made a stunning decision. Sandy’s mother was moving back to Mexico, taking the boy but leaving the girl in Pasadena.

Sandy’s grandmother stepped up, acting as both the girl’s grandmother and mother. She did well in school, but as she got older, she realized that her status would make her dream of college difficult. She hoped to get protection under the DREAMERS Act, but an attorney was able to help her using a lew which helps children from other countries abandoned in the U.S.  It worked, and not only did she get legal status when she was in high school, she is on the path to citizenship.

She got scholarships to California Lutheran University, and this Saturday, she’s graduating.

After taking time off for an internship, she wants to return to school to become a psychologist. Sandy says she’s reconnected with the parts of her family living in Mexico, and has a number of relatives who now live in California.

She’s hoping what she’s doing with her life can be an example for some of her young nieces and nephews.

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