According to Pew Hispanic Research Center, there are approximately 400,000 “mixed status” families within the United States—immigrant families which include a combination of U.S. citizen, documented, and undocumented family members. CNN published a moving story this week on the life of a mixed status family in Atlanta. The report follows Javier, 17, a remarkable student and athlete who dreams of attending college, and his family. More specifically, the story describes Javier’s struggle to apply to a state university in Georgia as an undocumented minor, and juxtaposes these recent trials with the opportunities available to his 10-year-old sister, Emily, who is the only member of the family with U.S. citizenship.

Because of a recently passed policy prohibiting undocumented students at specific schools in the University System of Georgia, Javier has found himself at rather bleak crossroads. As an undocumented teenager, Javier is not only banned from applying to the university of his choice, but he will also not be eligible for the in-state tuition rate at any other state school, making his chances for procuring tuition rather slim. Let us also not forget, that this is a young man who has lived in the state since age 8, quickly learned English, is recognized by teachers as being at the top of his class, and has a 4.125 grade point average. As a young person living in a low-income, single-headed household, he would qualify for federal financial aid if it weren’t for his undocumented status. For this reason alone he is prevented from a brighter future despite growing up in this country and doing everything right.

Javier’s story is just one of many undocumented children in our country who are denied the opportunity to reach their full potential. The passage of the DREAM act would help students just like Javier overcome these current obstacles by providing them the opportunity to pursue a college degree, serve in the military, earn their legal status, and fully contribute to our society. By currently limiting undocumented children, we are not only preventing them from achieving their greatest but in turn we’re diminishing the opportunities for our nation’s future. It’s time to make the American dream a reality for all our nation’s children.

For more information on the DREAM Act and to read Javier’s story visit: