Luis Moros left Venezuela for Miami with his mom when he was only 14 years old, then rotated among homeless shelters. It was a difficult childhood.
But he finished high school, and today Moros is a Florida International University Hamilton scholar who works with policymakers in the U.S. House of Representatives. He aims to help other immigrants achieve their dreams just like he did. Though he is only 20 years old, he has worked alongside Michelle Obama, participated in an Amazon television show, and is now writing a self-help book about becoming a political activist.
“We were homeless for a year and a half, living and moving from shelter to shelter for a year,” Moros said. “ It was the biggest breaking point in my life, going from a family that was well off in Venezuela to having nothing. I laugh about the memories now, but I cried a lot.”
Born in Barcelona, a Venezuelan coastal city, and raised in Caracas, the capital, Moros faced grave adversity. When his country was taken over by a strict communist regime in 2010, he and his mother knew it was time for the next chapter.
So in 2016, they packed up their belongings and hopped on a plane to Miami, leaving behind most members of their family, including Luis’s father, whom he has not seen in six years. After their arrival, Moros and his mother struggled to find a place to live and, as a result, rotated between homeless shelters for two years.
His mom found a job at a retail store, and Moros knew he had to seek employment to financially support her. He recalls visiting a McDonald’s every day for four months to check if there were openings. At first, they said he was too young. Then they said they could not employ him because his English wasn’t good enough. Hence, he began studying.
“In four months, I … killed myself studying the language every single day, especially their menu,” stated Moros.”I got to a point that I felt I was ready and at 15, I applied and got my first job at McDonald’s.”
He later became a team leader and supervisor, which meant an increase in salary.
Moros believes that his greatest accomplishment came when he helped his mother pay rent for a house in Hialeah while also attending Hialeah Gardens High School. They were finally out of the shelters.
During this difficult time, he considered dropping out of school but stayed. He knew his mom’s main motivation for moving to the United States was for him to succeed, and education was an important element of that.
In 2019, while Luis was still in high school, he interned for the Florida House of Representatives, which prompted his political career. As an intern, one of his major accomplishments included working alongside former first lady Michelle Obama in passing the ‘For the People’ act, a bill to curb voter suppression and make registering to vote easy for all Americans.
“The For the People Act allowed citizens to vote in different manners, such as by mail, in-person, or online,” he explained.
Furthermore, he said, this helps to “minimize the possibility of voter suppression among minority groups like we’ve seen in the past.”
The act, which passed in March of last year, is already showing how impactful it is in helping stop voter suppression, and as Luis explained, he and his team were able to increase voter turnout by about 25,000 votes.
Additionally, he started an organization in his highschool titled “Immigrants Building the Future,” mentoring students whose native languages were not English. He went from classroom to classroom, explaining the college admission process and encouraging them to pursue an education. In 2020, Moros became a Silver Knight nominee in the world languages category due to the success of his project.
“My purpose was telling them it’s okay to not speak English perfectly,” he said. “It’s ok to have an accent. It’s ok to be from another country. Don’t dream about a life that you want to have, work for your dream.”
Maria Muñoz, the Silver Knight coordinator at Hialeah Gardens High School, recalls Moros’s time as a Silver Knight, stating: “It was a great joy to work alongside such a formidable student leader in our school community. As a Silver Knight nominee, he proudly represented the spirit of Hialeah Gardens High School. ”
Muñoz also mentioned Moros’s time in the “Immigrants Building the Future” organization, stating that “he served his school community well by providing resources for the ELL students navigating through the complex educational system.”
Currently, Moros is a sophomore at Florida International University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in political science. Since 2021, he has been a part of the Hamilton Scholar Program which offered him a chance to intern in Washington D.C. at the U.S. House of Representatives alongside policymakers and a platform to advocate for an issue he is passionate about: helping immigrant students build a better future.
Through the Hamilton program, Moros has uplifted immigrant students by helping them find better opportunities and providing them ways in which they can find proper internships, scholarships, and resources they need to succeed.
Prachi Lalwani Mirchandani, a Florida International University student majoring in International Relations, is one of Luis’s best friends.
“He’s a world changer,” stated Lalwani. “Every place he sets foot in he is impacting people. He’s empowering people. He is the reflection of what it means to be passionate and a hard working human being.”
Lalwani also recently visited Moros at Washington D.C. to celebrate his birthday.
“We laughed a lot, he took me to a great pizza place, and we made so many memories together,” stated Lalwani. “He works so hard and I wanted to show him that he is never alone. He is loved and there are so many people who would do anything for him.”
In 2021, Moros also participated in a reality TV show called “4 Days to Save the World.” The Amazon-produced series takes a United Nations approach in which ten teams represent a social issue and solve it to the best of their abilities. Moros was Team World Hunger.
In the future, Moros plans on pursuing a career as a Supreme Court justice. He names former associate justice of the Supreme Court, Sandra O’ Connor, the first Hispanic justice from Puerto Rico, as one of his favorite justices. He admires her advocacy for diversity in law schools, especially during a time when minorities struggled to pursue law.
“Back in the day, minorities were said to not have the ‘compelling interests’ that motivated law schools to choose them,” Moros stated. “Why did Americans have that privilege first? Justice O’Connor always emphasized that minorities do have an immense compelling interest in many of her cases.”
In the meantime, Moros is writing a book on the formulas, tips, and schemes that helped him become a philanthropist, political activist, and researcher. He even has a publisher: PublifyPress. He describes the process of writing his book as inspiring and hopes to release the book by the end of this year.
“Success changes based on your priorities in life. Four years ago, success for me was affording a place to live with my mom…Success is not the same as the person next to you. However, it is always composed of the same factors: discipline, passion, and determination.”