URBANA (WCIA) — Jeremy Machorro can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
“Two weeks ago I went up to Chicago to get my ID and my passport,” the Urbana senior said.
It was the first time having official and legal identification for Machorro, who has spent the past 12 years living as an undocumented immigrant. His family came to the United States from Mexico when he was just six years old.
“When people brought it up, I just sat there, looked at them, smiled at them,” Machorro said. “They ask why, I smiled. I said, well, I’m part of that.”
It’s been a long and painstaking process for Machorro to become a recognized resident of Illinois.
“Very stressful,” he said. “Paying a lot of money, looking for good lawyers, making sure you’re not out there in the open risking it.”
And he’s done it all while trying to earn his high school diploma and become the first one in his family to go to college. Through it all, Machorro has had football to lean on, which he wasn’t able to play until high school.
“Since my parents didn’t speak English much, it was difficult for them to understand the paperwork and everything,” Machorro added. “Now that I was in high school, I signed up straight to football. My friends made fun of me. They’re like, ‘Oh, you’re Hispanic, you should be playing soccer.’ I was like, aw, nah, that’s not my thing.”
Since then, Machorro has become one of Urbana’s best lineman, even earning a spot as captain.
“He’s an outstanding person,” Urbana head coach Ordell Walker said. “I love being around him. He’s just a guy that gets along with everybody. All the players like him. Tremendous worker.”
And he will continue to work. Dual-enrolled at Parkland, Machorro is taking automotive classes to one day fulfill his dream of working at or owning a car dealership. Until then, he says he hopes to keep living the motto that’s carried him this far.
“Never give up. If you have a dream, keep fighting for it.”