Immigration in the United States

By Valerie Garofalo

“La migra, la migra, is the most terrifying thing for me to hear till this day”, 35-year-old Rosita Fuentes remembers the events of being an immigrant. She says she was thirteen when she first came to this country with her mother and heard about “La migra” which is Hispanic slang for “immigration officer”.  She says that when someone shouted “La migra!” it meant run for your life or you get deported back to your native country.

“My first four years in this country were the scariest because I needed to learn English which wasn’t easy, and then I had to live with the fear of getting caught so I would sleep with one eye open as I always prayed to Guadalupe (Virgin Mary) for my mom to get to work and come back safe!” Fuentes sooner describes the terrible events of her past when an immigration officer confronted one of her friends and Fuentes ran off to hide behind a pile of boxes. “Life isn’t as hard anymore as it was growing up as an undocumented immigrant because I married my high school sweet heart or as I like to say ‘mi gringo’ who was born in this country and gave me my papers.”

Immigration is a large issue in this country that has affected the lives of many, leading to many issues in our government. Families from other countries search in desperation for the “American dream” or the “perfect life” where they migrate to America, but don’t realize the struggle to raise a family without legal documents not being able to qualify for jobs.

Teen sisters Ivanna of fourteen and Genesis Gonzalez of eighteen explain the challenges of waiting to become U.S citizens. “Being a resident in this country is fine because I have privileges that undocumented people don’t but being a U.S citizen is everything” said the younger sister Gonzalez. “I remember all the stories my parents used to tell us about coming to his country and having nothing, but I identify my self as an American not a Guatemalan. Everything I know is based on the United States, I feel weird going to Guatemala even though I was born there.”  (Maybe talk about how her parents feel about their kids’ view of their culture?)

“I’m waiting for the immigration reform, that’s my only hope” said Juana Reyes who doesn’t qualify for the Dream act because she is thirty-eight.

The dream act is a law that would grant permanent residency to those immigrant children who have gone to school in the U.S so that they can go to college.

“I am an immigrant,” said the nineteen-year-old anonymous student. “I’ve been to many of the protests in favor of the dream act and I am waiting on good news from my lawyer that lets me know that I can finally go to college”, the anonymous student adds “I have gotten straight A’s since kindergarten and graduated High School with a 3.8 GPA while the U.S citizens in my graduating class wasted time and aren’t making a use of what they have as they qualify for loans and scholarships that I can’t have”

The anonymous student says he grew up in Harlem and grew up with the challenges of living with his grandparents after his father got deported. “Life hasn’t been easy but I know it will get better.”

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