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Nuestras Historias: Our Stories
I am one of two children in my family and I’m the only U.S. citizen. My parents and brother are all undocumented. My mom is from Cardenas, San Luis Potosi and both my brother and dad are from Tampico, Tamaulipas. My parents came to the United States in search of better job opportunities. My dad came first to the United States in 1998, entering illegally, leaving my brother who was just 4 years old and my mom behind in Mexico. He sent money to them for food and any essentials they needed. About a year later my mom and brother, who was then 6 years old, came to the United States entering also illegally. Eventually, my parents decided to have another kid and I was born in the year 2000.
It’s been 16 years of living in constant fear of being separated. I am now 16 years old and my brother is now 22 years old. My dad has been living in the United States for 19 years and my mom and brother for 18 years. They have never been able to return to their homeland since the day they stepped into their new lives in the United States. I have never met any other family member, other than my mom’s sister, who came a few years before my mom. Other than my aunt and her family, I never got to meet my grandparents before they died or any members of my dad’s side of the family. It never seemed to affect me, until someone would bring up their personal stories about them visiting their grandparents or visiting their family in another country. It would then hit me that I will never be able to visit my grandparents and be able to enjoy my abuelita’s homemade tamales or experience the typical stories my abuelito should tell me, that I will never be able to travel with my parents to their homeland because of the fear of deportation. And this mentality would never change until actions take place for my family and for families like mine.
There are many families that live in the same situation as mine. Kids who live in the shadows because of their family’s social status and are afraid to what could happen. People being afraid to do anything because they are just simply scared to what others might think or do to them. But nobody should be afraid, just like these siblings I interviewed. This is a story of another family who lives in the same situation like millions in the Unites States.
The Jimenez family is a mixed status family with four children who are citizens and their undocumented parents. Their parents come from Aguascalientes, Mexico and their oldest son, Jesus, from Inglewood, California and the rest of the siblings, Emelyn, Yazmin, and Misael, are all from Austin, Texas. This beautiful family of six has been living in Austin for 15 years and they have never experienced any type of real fear, until this new president. This new presidency has brought tons of hate into many communities and one of those being the immigrant community. This hate has made many families afraid to follow their daily routines.
Teens like Emelyn have fear going to public places and being stereotyped because of their ethnicity and their social status. They feel like because of their family's status they can't pursue many of their dreams with the legal support of their parents. But that doesn't stop many of them from dreaming big, such as Jesus who is 17 years old and has plans to attend college and study business and management for his own construction company. There is children of these undocumented parents who dream about making their future worth their parents sacrifice, but then there's dreams like Michael's, where they wish they didn't live a constant fear of separation of their parents sacrifices. These siblings wish to see a difference not only in the community, but also in the government system. They no longer want to live a stereotype life and they no longer want to live in the shadows.
But unlike many of these undocumented families where they have both their parents that these children can rely on, there's families like Mariel’s, where they only have one parent in which they can rely. Mariel’s story is just like many other undocumented families where children have the fear of having their only parent, being taken away from them. Mariel is 17 years old and she has been living in Austin, Texas with her two younger siblings and her mom for 10 years. She attends high school in Austin and is hoping to go to college to make her mom’s sacrifices worth all her life. Like many she wants to see a change in people's point of view towards the immigrant community, she doesn't want undocumented people to be stereotyped something they're not. She wants to see a change in people that vote.
There are many people in the United States with the privilege of voting but don't take that as an advantage of not only having their own voices heard but also the voices that are being shut down. She believes this new presidency could have been a different outcome if people just simply went to educate themselves about voting because there are people in this country that wish they had that same privilege as them. When Mariel turns 18, she will have a privilege of voting and she will take that as advantage to vote towards laws that will benefit the immigrant community. Because she knows there is a change that can be made to help empower this community.
Mariel lives with her mother, knowing that her mother is undocumented she feels that it is stressful living this situation. She feels that life would be easier if her mother wasn't undocumented such as for situations like when she wanted to get her license. Since Mariel is not 18 yet she needed a legal guardian to obtain her driving lessons, but her mother’s legal status got in the way of her being able to receive something she truly needs. Situations like this, Mariel and many others, wish there was some type of change because it just makes it harder for many lives to get a hold of things such as a license or an ID.
These are just stories that have been told, but there is many other families that go through this and much more. Some families do unfortunately go through their family being separated and they suffer a lot of emotional and mental pain. They go through the pain of being separated of that family member and wonder what could happen next, if they're ever gonna be able to see them again or if that was their last time they will ever be together.
Family is an important value in life, having the constant feeling of not being able to do anything to take away that feeling is frustrating. Many teens and kids of these families, at times feel like they’re the ones that are being shut down. But to know you have power when the whole community comes together and unify is amazing because it shows that in this community nobody is alone, we all understand each other and our situation. Hope and unity is what keeps us safe, everyone is part of the same battle and nobody should give up because we're all a part of a country built of immigrants.