Giancarlo Tello, 23, didn't know he was in the United States illegally until he was a sophomore in high school and his mother told him he couldn't get a driver's license.
Other realizations followed: Tello, whose parents brought him to New Jersey from Peru when he was 6, learned he didn't have a Social Security number. He couldn't work, except at odd jobs. And he couldn't receive financial aid to go to college or qualify for in-state tuition.
While he earned enough as a tennis coach and computer instructor to attend Bergen Community College - hitching rides from his father, who woke him at 5 a.m. and picked him up from the school at 11 p.m. - Tello couldn't afford to continue a political science major he had begun at Rutgers University, he said Thursday.