I have been a DREAMer since 2000, ever since the age of nine. Coming here to the United States was a confusing to me, considering that we didn’t have no family here. I did not understand why we moved to Las Vegas, Nevada. We did not, and up to this point, we have no family. And, of course, as children, our parents did not explain their problems to us because we could not reason.
My father lived in Las Vegas, Nevada, for four years before my family and I actually came to the states. He left us in Bolivia; me, the age of four, a brother of the age of seven, and a loving mother. Throughout those four years, I did not know I had a father until he visited Bolivia when I was four years old. He stayed for a year to convince my mother to go to the United States, so that as a family, we could live the “American Dream.” Bolivia does not offer a stable educational future for the youth of the country. Regular school days were cancelled due to revolutionary riots, and it is just a dangerous place to live in. Robberies are frequent, as well as rape and kidnapping. Now that I am older, I understand the reasons why we left our country.
Assimilating to this country was a struggle. The first two years were rough without the rest of our family, and also, settling down was a harsh experience. Going to school was a challenge for foreign students due to the new language and the American cultural differences. I did not mind learning the language because I like to learn. My family and I were successful; mom had a job as a cosmetologist/hair designer, dad opened his own mechanic business, my brother graduated high school, and I was still in school getting straight A’s, aiming for an Honors Diploma…life was good!
My parents were working on getting our residency. Unfortunately, the lawyer that my father was working with was fraud and mishandled paperwork for us and other families across the states. I was about 14 years old and was still clueless in regards to our immigrations status.
After we found out about our mishandled paperwork, my father moved us to different house (I have moved about 7 times) because my parents were scared of getting separated and they also wanted to protect us from ICE.
In 2009, just after Christmas, my father was suprisingly deported. That day seemed like a horrible dream to my family and I; everything seemed so unreal. He had left his business open and we had only one day to move all his mechanic tools out of the property. The owner warned us that he would close it at 9 p.m., and whatever was left in there would belong to him. Those tools were, heavy and enormous, were difficult to move (we moved tool boxes, lifters, and cars). I will never forget this feeling of being alone, everything in my life changed after my father’s deportation.
That same year I was graduating high school with an Honors Diploma, three accomplishments (math, graphic design, and Spanish ), Millennium Scholarship, and dressed in white ( in Nevada it means you had your GPA 3.5 and higher). It was very sad for me not having my father present in my graduation. Only my mom showed up because she was the only one left to support me. Graduation day was supposed to be special to me. I always dreamed of seeing my parents proud of their daughter’s accomplishments. On that moment, I realized that I was a student with no rights and had many limits in my life (working, driving, applying to scholarships all required residency or citizenship). I almost thought I could not go to college. I had to set myself limits in life; however, I did not give up on my education.
Education is important in life and something I can take my knowledge anywhere!
Unfortunately in 2011, my brother was deported, leaving his two little girls and wife. Until this day, Marinita (the oldest daughter) remembers her dad being taken away by ‘cops’ and often asks, “where is my dad?” With all these unfortunate experiences, my mom and I are scared to be next.
I am attending college majoring in Graphic Design. Design is something I like, though I am not passionate of. I am afraid of being deported without finishing my education, therefore I chose this major because I would rather leave with one degree than nothing. My passion is to find a cure for aids, cancer, and other diseases. I have been going to college every semester, including summer semesters, because I feel rushed against ICE’s unexpected ambushes. In three months, I am graduating with a Graphic Design emphasis Associate’s degree. If it were for me, I would take my time in my classes, and major in something I have passion for. Supporting the DREAM ACT will help me and all of the undocumented students fulfill their education goals.
The DREAM Act will help me, as well as numerous students that share my predicament, to fulfill our educational goals and achieve our dreams in a land that we have called home for several years.