My name is Andres. I am 21 years old. I was born in Colombia and came to this country I now call home at the age of 10. I have lived in Florida ever since.
My family and I left Colombia because we were being persecuted by Las FARC in Colombia. It was no longer safe for us to be there so we decided to come to “the land of opportunity.” We came here legally but were denied political asylum by immigration. For a period of time we were “illegal” as some would call it. It tore our family apart to the point my parents, who I thought would be together forever, ended up splitting up and eventually getting a divorce.
My mom was lucky enough to fall in love again and marry a US citizen, who is now petitioning for her and my brother’s residency. I was also lucky enough to reconnect with an old love from high school after our best friend died serving the country in Afghanistan. We have now been married for almost two years and she is also petitioning for my residence. My father, however, was deported. I remember I was sleeping when I heard banging on my door. It was 5am. I went to see who was at the door and saw ICE agents. My heart was at my throat. I opened the door and they said they were looking for my dad. I told them we no longer live together so they left but a few minutes later showed up at his place. He was with my brother who was 10 at the time when the 8 ICE agents showed up, put him in hand cuffs and took him away.
My brother has never been the same since. He was basically traumatized by the experience. He saw immigration take away the person he loves more than anything on this world. After that, he’s become very attached to me, almost using my company to fill the hole our father left. The experience was scary enough for me, I can only imagine what it’s been like for him. I’ve lived here half my life. I went to middle school here and graduated high school. I have been out of school ever since because I can’t afford to pay out of state tuition, since I am not able to pay in state because I am not a “legal” resident.
There is nothing I want more than to go back to school right now. I am very intelligent and hate wasting my time not going to school. I am currently in the process of becoming a resident and finally ending this nightmare. All this struggle, pain, stress and adversity over the past 11 years, all so I can have an opportunity to have an opportunity in this country, to make something of myself, make my parents and family proud.