My name is Tanuj Solanki, I am a Graduate Student at the University of Central Florida, studying Mechanical Engineering with a focus in Thermofluids. I am also a proud American; the United States is my home.
I have lived in this country since 2004, when I was 4 years old. I have fleeting memories of my life from before my parents and I shifted to the United States from India. My parents often reminisce about those times as if talking about a different lifetime. Since I moved here, not only have I not returned to India, but I have not even left the country. I was an H4 dependent under my mother, who worked under a Work Visa while financially supporting our family.
The United States, without question, is my home. I have lived and learned in this country for basically my entire life. We first moved to Jersey City, New Jersey, living with my aunt while my parents and I settled into our new lives. I attended Preschool and Elementary school there, and we later moved to West Palm Beach, Florida in 2010. I attended Suncoast High School, which offered AP Courses and Dual Enrollment Classes, which allowed me to earn college credit. I started college at UCF in 2018, and I was able to complete my Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2 and a half years, before I turned 21 and aged out of my mother’s Work Visa. I had to later transition to a International Student Visa to continue my education, even though I had lived the past 17 years of my life continuously in this country.
My family and I have spent 100% of our time in the United States as legal immigrants, and I have never been undocumented. Back in 2012, I remember learning about DACA, however my parents were disappointed to learn that it only covered Undocumented Children. My parents at the time considered revoking my legal status, which would have allowed me to fall under DACA provisions. However, we chose the legal route, deciding to keep me documented.
I am a Dreamer, but my legal documentation status held me back. I am looking forward to working with Improve to Dream, to allow all Dreamers, both Documented and Undocumented, to live out the lives we have all dreamed of living.