Amherst County High School senior forging her own path to citizenship

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AMHERST Co., Va. (WDBJ7) -- Gloria Arevalo-Escobar is like any other High School Senior.
She spends her time studying for exams and looking forward to college.

But, unlike her peers, her future isn't so certain. "The thing that scares me the most right now is … potentially leaving everything I know and everything I've grown up with to somewhere I haven't ever been."

Arevalo-Escobar was born in Mexico.

She came to the states after her dad got a job in the area and has lived in Central Virginia her entire life.

Right now, Arevalo-Escobar is covered by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA program.
But, after next year, that will no longer be the case. "I want to be proactive and find a way for me to get citizenship to actually be here legally," she said.

The several-step process takes time, and comes at a cost of up to $8,000.00. "Lawyer fees, and then there's also filing fee and an immigration fee," she explained.

But, Arevalo-Escobar is determined.
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The Amherst County senior starts her day at the Central Virginia Governor's School in Lynchburg before commuting back to Amherst to wrap up classes.

After that, she ends her day working at a local McDonald's. "I don't get to my house until like 11:45 p.m., then I shower and stuff, so I don't get to bed until like 12:00 a.m. and then if I have to do homework I stay up a little later," she said. "I do have a lot of support system behind me."

Now, she hopes her community will rally behind her efforts to clear a path to citizenship by next year.