Through various trials and obstacles faced by undocumented youth around the country, the hope that an answer to their distress will be answered still remains in the DREAM Act. Here are the stories of this generation. (I do not claim ownership of the media used in this page)
Everyone has a story and it seems like I have two – the real one and the superficial one. My story is lived by 2 million Americans – well, not so American. I am 24 years old and have been residing in the United States illegally since I was 8. This fact has shaped the way I have lived my life, but not the way I have dreamed about it.
When I was 8, I was put on a plane from Colombia to Peru and was told I was going to see my mother who lived in the U.S.A. In Peru, I met a family that taught me a game where I had to learn everything about another little girl named Mayra. I was a dedicated student (I even skipped a grade back in Colombia) and I was determined to learn all her details – her grandparent’s names, her favorite hobbies, the name of her school, etc. This came in handy when I was going through customs in the United States. You see, they told me that a group of gentlemen were going to ask me questions and I had to pretend I was Mayra. Let’s just say I beat the game and got the best prize because I got to see my mom. Two things I remember are the happiness I felt to see her and the November snow, which was more beautiful than what I had dreamed it would be. Today, I can’t even remember the names of the people I was with or even any details on Mayra because all that was not important; it was just a game. On the biggest day of your life you don’t recognize that such day is it.
Soon after my arrival, I started the fourth grade and took advantage of all the opportunities America offered me. In high school, I was the main anchor of my school’s newscast, president of the modeling club, and I was involved in the history club and science club. Most importantly, or so I thought, I graduated top ten of my class. In actuality, the most important thing was my involvement in the science club with Mrs. Makar. I remember tearing when I told her I couldn’t go to college because I couldn’t afford it. She made a few calls and signed me up for some private scholarships. She also had connections at Rutgers University and spoke to them after my application had been sent. To this day, I am not sure if I got accepted by merit or because of Mrs. Makar. Either way, this wasn’t a community college, this was so good, it was beyond my dreams.
Reality hit me hard for the first time when the scholarships expired. I needed to provide them with a social to renew them. I could not get a job because I needed a social for that too. My mother, who raised me by herself, had two full-time jobs during the week, and a job during the weekend. I remember every semester we were late on payment because it was really hard to come up with $10,000 for tuition. Somehow, God kept providing mom with the money and I just kept going. The last three semesters I had to do part-time and live at home. This meant a 3-hour commute to school since I could not get a license to drive (a bus, two trains, and bus again). But who cares? The commute was the least of my worries.
I am very proud to say my degree is a Bachelor’s of Science – my major was Exercise Science and Sport Studies and my minor, French. I am proud of it because social or not, no one can take this away from me.
Now that I have told you the real story, let me tell you the superficial one. There weren’t always two stories. I believe the division began once the real story became too embarrassing or too problematic for me. When I went to college, I couldn’t tell my roommates why I wasn’t applying for FASFA , why I didn’t drive, why I couldn’t work, and why I kept changing my mind about my major. I became so good at answering these questions and always made a joke when asked. If someone asked me why I didn’t drive I would say I had nervous disorder and “its better for the world that I’m off the road,” or that I was color blind and “you’re looking a bit gray today.” People knew I was joking but as long as you gave them an answer, they didn’t insist. Sometimes I would tell them the reason was because I was here illegally, but they thought that too was a joke. I didn’t want to be different, or inspire pity, or meet someone that would be so mean and report me to the authorities.
I danced my way through college, literally. I made it to a Ballroom Dance Team and became president during my last year. My sports director notified me that I couldn’t be president because I wasn’t a full time student at the time, but at the end, she told me not to mention it and allowed me to go on. My closest friends are people I met on the team. People who never in a million years would think I am here illegally. I don’t mean to lie to them and I have no idea how I have managed to cover it all up when I know my whole life revolves around this one issue. I guess I thought that something like the DREAM Act would pass, the issue would be resolved, and I would never have to mention it at all. This illegal life is not the life I want to live, is the one I was forced to live. It just doesn’t make sense — my mother is a naturalized US Citizen and my husband is a born US citizen and I thought there has to be a way for me to get my papers. But there isn’t because there is no way for me to proof I came here with a visa.
I am blogging today because I have time - something I never had before. The company I was working for was raided by ICE and I had to leave before I was caught and deported. This is the second time reality struck me and with mighty force. The day I lost my job was the scariest day of my life – those minutes when I thought everything I had worked for would be taken from me….
But God’s thoughts were definitely bigger than mine and believe me, this is something I keep forgetting. This day brought a lot more than what it took. You see, nothing can bring you closer to God like the scariest day of your life. What I had to do wasn’t to give up on my dreams; it was simply to change them. Even though I have always dreamed big, God has provided for me even bigger things - my husband, my health, my family, my college experience, and a story worth blogging about. My dreams have drifted from wanting a passport of the United States to wanting a passport to heaven.
Everyone has a story and today I felt my undocumented story needed to be documented.
My parents brought me to the United States when I was 3 years old. I did not realize how different my life was going to be as opposed to my friends, who are all “legal” in this country, until I was 18.
It was horrible for me to realize that I was not going to a university because I did not have the money to do so. I was devastated. Since 2008, after my high school graduation, it has been very difficult for me to live a “normal” life. It has been hard for me to acquire a good job where I can get treated fairly and respected as I deserve to be. I have a lot of potential and can achieve farther in life than just settling as a busgirl.
It is tough to pursue what I really want in life.
My only hope is the DREAM Act.
I am currently working towards my Associates of Arts degree in Business Administration. As soon as I finish this, I will be transferring to obtain my Bachelors degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Human Resources Management. I want to be a Human Resource manager. Luckily, I have been able to go to school because I am an AB-540 student. Otherwise, it would have been almost impossible for me to go to school. My citizenship status is holding me back enormously. All of my hopes and dreams have been put on hold indefinitely, and right now, I am just frustrated. I do not know what I am going to do. I cannot live like this my whole life.
Something must be done.
The DREAM Act must be passed.
There are so many young and talented people living with the same limitation as me, and these lives are being wasted because of their citizenship. I want to have a career, own a house, own a car, etc…but I cannot.