A Dream Deferred
America has long had a debate about immigration and whether undocumented immigrants should be entitled to in-state tuition. The issue rages on at the state and national level.
Illustration by Michael Glenwood
Right now, Deivid Ribeiro’s post-graduation plan is to model himself after Albert Einstein. Formal education was a famously hostile environment for Einstein’s febrile mind. The twentieth century’s greatest theoretical physicist did much of his early work in self-study, publishing papers that were accepted by prestigious scientific journals while working as a patent examiner.
By the time Einstein, a German citizen, immigrated to the United States in 1933, he had won the Nobel Prize in physics. Germany had begun its dark descent into Nazism and Einstein had been targeted as a Jewish intellectual. He took a job at Princeton University and became a citizen in 1940.
What Einstein did by inclination, however, Ribeiro must do by necessity.
Deivid Ribeiro came to the United States from Brazil at age eight with his family. His father, a Baptist pastor, entered the country on a tourist visa, found work in a Massachusetts church and applied for permanent status. His application was denied, as was a subsequent appeal. With no other avenues to obtain citizenship without returning to Brazil, Ribeiro’s father has only found a spiritual home here.
Deivid Ribeiro is also without a foothold as he struggles to maintain an upward trajectory. He is a Brown University junior, studying physics on scholarships. But without legal status, he has no realistic prospects to attend graduate school.
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