RICHARDSON -- Victor Maya, 17, attends Lake Highlands High School and has big dreams. He wants to go to college and become an aerospace engineer.
But he has a major roadblock -- he's undocumented.
"Someone yelled police or 'la migra' how they say in Spanish -- so everybody started running and was stayed hidden," Maya said.
It’s a day he will never forget. He was nine years old, hiking for hours and running low on food and water. He said he even remembers the border patrol agent who found them and gave him a banana.
He's come a long way since then and now has a path to U.S. citizenship, but it’s a dark path one wouldn't choose to walk. Three years ago, Victor's little sister was raped and murdered in Dallas.
"They were all looking -- I was looking too. We couldn't find her. My mom was like crying -- because it was her love," Maya said.
Maya's family, although undocumented, didn't hesitate to work with police. Their cooperation led to an arrest. The killer was Victor's own cousin, a man who is now in prison.
"It's more of a peace but also more of a sorry, because that person that did it was my cousin, and most of his life was horrible," Maya said.
As for the rest of his path, there is a special provision that allows for victims of violent crimes who help lead police to a conviction – to get what’s called a "u-visa," which is a legal status in the United States.
"They had all the paperwork done -- all they needed was the money, and I know that was going to be something hard for them to get, and it would take them a long time," Maya said.
Victor turned to GoFundMe -- the soft-spoken teen put himself on camera and made a plea to the community.
He's raising money for legal fees for his parents to pursue the special visa.
"If the goal gets done, it could be a whole life-changing experience for me, my brother, my parents -- having a better future," he said.
Maya said he knows he can never bring his sister back, but he said he hopes he can at the very least bring his parents peace of mind in their new life.
Victor is raising this money with the help of his dad and teacher. They haven't told his mom because they want to surprise her.
Victor's teacher, Rhianna Anglin, knew about the murder but had no idea it was Victor's little sister until this year.
"I think for me it was a panic of what more can I do to assist him in any way. That story has really echoed through this community," Anglin said.
Victor says his mother prefers to watch news in Spanish and says he'll do his best to keep her away from watching.
For information on where you can go to donate, visit the GoFundMe page here.
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