For a little more than a year now, a new immigration policy known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals has meant that more undocumented youth are acknowledging their status and are able to legally work.
However, DACA does not grant legal status or citizenship. There is also no guarantee that those applying will be approved, making it risky to come forward because applicants must disclose immigration status and contact information to the government.
Since Aug. 15, 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services reports show 567,563 applications for DACA were accepted out of a total of 588,725 received.
Cerda was approved for DACA in November 2012. Now, he works as a student tech and helps service broken computers at school.
Ultimately, establishing a sense of normalcy through DACA helped him to decide to go public with his immigration status at school.
"I really felt lonely for the past two years—and I knew there was a possibility that there were more here too," Cerda said.
Cerda knows three people at Yale who are undocumented.
"(Yale is) basically a safe haven for undocumented students," Cerda said.