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Local documented dreamer denied visa that would have allowed her to stay in the country

Summer Rush found out she was denied H-1B Visa on March 28
Local documented dreamer denied visa that would have allowed her to stay in the country
Posted at 5:09 PM, Apr 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-22 05:27:54-04

LAKELAND, Fla. — It's been close to three months since ABC Action News first covered documented dreamers in the U.S. Now, one woman, who held documented dreamer status, is facing deportation.

A documented dreamer is a person, who was brought to the U.S. legally with their parents, but once they turn 21, they are forced to self-deport, oftentimes leaving the only country they know. Summer Rusher applied for a H-1B Visa, which is an employment-based visa that would allow her to continue her life here. The problem is, of the more than 200,000 people who apply each year, only about 85,000 applications are approved.

On March 28, Rusher found out that she did not get the visa that allowed her to stay in the country she was raised in.

“Once I found out that I didn’t get it, I was definitely sad, but I think it was more anxiety because I just didn’t know what was coming next,” Rusher said.

Rusher was born in England but was brought to the United States when her dad started a rental management company in Englewood. She is now a 5th-grade teacher in Winter Haven and holds a master's degree from Southeastern University in Lakeland.

“You don’t get told that you didn’t get it,” Rusher said. “You only get notified if you did get it. So, once I realized that I hadn’t been notified that I had gotten it, it was kind of like I was holding on to slim hope that maybe it’ll be tomorrow, maybe it’ll be tomorrow, maybe it’ll be tomorrow and tomorrow never came.”

Her visa is set to expire in June and for Rusher, her anxiety is amplified by her support system not being able to help with the situation at hand.

“My boss didn’t know what to say or to do," she said. "My parents haven’t been through this example before. So, it’s almost like a little bit of loneliness as well in that anxiety of just not knowing what was next or what was coming."

Rusher is considering returning to school in order to stay in the U.S. with her friends and family.

“Our families came across documented and they tried to do everything the right way and, you know, now we’re being punished because we’re not kids anymore,” Rusher said.

For previous coverage of documented dreamers from ABC Action News, click here.