I was about 4 years old when I can to the U.S. Like many other families, mine was just looking for a better life.
The neighborhoods we lived in back in Mexico were quickly being overtaken by thiefs ang drug dealers. Although they weren’t big shot mafia men, my parents obviously didn’t want us surrounded by that.
Our extended family wasn’t one we could rely on and my father had already been in the U.S. for over 5 years before my mother decided to “cross us ” over the border. I went to an elemntary, where they held me back because my English wasn’t good enough. After one year I could speak fluent English and by 2nd grade I was being tested to start GT classes (gifted and talented). The change wasn’t as easy for my older brother he was already in middle school by the time we moved and kids at his school weren’t very nice. He got bullied by most of the other kids and including teachers but being “illegal” there was not much my parents could do but wipe the tears from his eyes everyday that he came home upset.
You see my brother has hyperthyroidism and his eyes reflected this boldly. His eyes bulged out somewhat and kids used this to pick on him. Nevertheless, we went to school everyday. Life for my parents wasn’t a walk in the park either. My father worked as a mariachi and upon our arrival to the United States his boss fired him making it harder on us. I remember my mom would walk through alleys looking for thrown away clothes or scraps of food. My father worked for multiple other mariachi groups but not being a permanent element of any group meant he had to call everyday to see if any other group had a spot for the day so he could make a couple bucks, sometimes 10 or 15 dollars a night. By the time I graduated high school, I was in the top 10 students out of a little over 450 students in my class and my brother had already managed to get a college degree and graduate summa cum laude with the help of my parents’ hard work. I earned a full academic scholarship to a local university and my father had formed his own mariachi group with great success. All meanwhile never letting anyone know that none of us were here legally.
We went through or lives hearing our friends and acquaintances talk about how illegal immigrants just lived off of the taxpayers money and were mostly delinquents. But when I looked at my family who had never taken a penny from the government, who actually donated to charities in the U.S. From time to time, I didn’t see that. We had struggled but we had succeeded because of hard work, because we were honest, and humble. Although we pay taxes, contribute to the community and do what any other born American does we are still viewed as nothing more than an illegals. My whole family is now at a stalemate with life. My brothers has a degree which he wasn’t able to put to much use until he got the work permit through DACA but like we all know DACA runs out and in order to live a better life and be able to keep giving back to this country ( which whether other Americans like it or not it is where we grew up and we see it as OUR COUNTRY AS WELL) we need a little more than permission to work here. For example, I graduate this coming May but my dreams of becoming a doctor are stumped because although I have a work permit I can’t apply and get into most Medical Schools.
Grad school for my brother and I is out of the question because it’s a lot of money and we can’t get financial aid. And for my parents who are too old to qualify for DACA, any change in immigration law that could fix this could open up a world of opportunities for them. I could never understand how hard working people like them were viewed so poorly by others who are here legally. The people that were here legally got to sit on their bottoms and ask for handouts from the government and then went ahead and complained how people like myself took all the money that should go to them. I know plenty of dreamers that don’t sit on their bottoms and don’t ask for handouts. I also know plenty of HEALTHY and LAZY Americans that do the opposite. I write my story with frustration pouring out of me. I’m not here to harm this great country . Like many others I grew up celebrating the 4 th of July and crying during 9/11 because I was raised here. I was raised in Texas for crying out loud. I know “The Star-Spangled Banned” by heart, I was raised to be prouder of the United States than most people I know, and yet I’m still considered illegal.