More than two decades ago, Celina Hernandez gave birth to a daughter in her native Mexico. But the newborn died hours later because she was three months’ premature and her family couldn’t afford the incubator she needed to survive.

Cesar Vargas was brought by his parents to the United States from Mexico when he was 5 years old. He grew up in New York, graduated from high school, completed college, and is in his final year of law school. Now, he has one thing holding him back from his dream of joining the military: the fact that he’s undocumented.

When Nelly was nine years old, she came to the United States with her parents. Scared and unable to speak the language, she was aware of one thing: that her parents came here to provide her with a better life, and that she would do all that she could to succeed. So she learned English, excelled at school, graduated at the top of her class with a 4.0 GPA, was elected class president, and even served as Cadet Commander of her high school’s ROTC program – all while holding a job to support her family.

I am a member of the first graduating class of Felix Varela Senior High which is located in Miami, Florida. I had attended school with my native-born friends. Like them, I participated in activities, field trips, dances, and felt the pain of losing a classmate.

It was around 10th grade that I realized my future after high school would not be the same as those of my peers even though I worked just as hard to obtain excellent grades

My name is David Cho and I’m undocumented.

I will be a senior studying International Economics and Korean at UCLA this upcoming Fall. While most of my friends will enter the workplace after graduation, I will not be able to even put my name down on a job application because of my status.

The DREAM Now letters to follow each week, from undocumented young people who feel they must tell their stories, will be used to call attention to the urgent need to pass the DREAM Act without further delay. Please get involved by posting the letters on your blog, your facebook or twitter profiles, or wherever you can. Together we can make the DREAM Act a reality for the million or more young people whose lives are now on hold, waiting for this critical legislation — a stepping stone to full immigration reform that 70% of Americans support.