Pursuing the Mexican Dream This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

December 20, 2012
I was worried. My brothers and I had been waiting for two hours for my mom to arrive. We were supposed to meet her an hour after school, at 5 p.m., at the bus station. She hadn’t arrived or called. It was October 22, 2010.

At about 8:30 p.m. my dad called my brother’s cell phone. He said that my mamma had been detained at the border station when she tried to come back into the U.S., and that they wouldn’t be able to get back into the country. My dad told my brother that we would have to go back to Mexico as soon as we collected our things from the apartment we were renting.

I immigrated to the United States to pursue the “American Dream.” My dad stayed in Mexico City where I was born, so he could send us money. We sold chocolates and candy apples to sustain our living here.

When my family and I arrived in the U.S. and requested student VISAs, the school district told us we didn’t need one as long as we lived here. So we rented an apartment as proof that we were U.S. residents and they let us enroll. Of course we assumed this was legal since the school district told us to do it. We had no idea we were committing a federal crime.

I had been living in McAllen, Texas, for one year. I was a great student – all my classes were advanced and I had joined a lot of clubs, including community service. Then “La Migra” (as we Mexicans call the immigration authorities) caught us.

This is how it happened. My mom went to Mexico City to visit my grandma, who was very sick. When she tried to return to the U.S., she said she was a tourist, since we only had tourist VISAs. When crossing the border, immigration authorities found a public library card in her purse. When they saw that, they knew she wasn’t a tourist, and they detained her. They questioned and threatened her for four hours. Finally they revoked her VISA and sent her back to Mexico.

When my dad called to explain what had happened, I felt as if my whole world had stopped, even though everybody else’s kept spinning. My life, my friends, my school were all in the U.S., and just like that, suddenly I would have to give it all up and return to Mexico.

The next day, my brothers and I went to school to return the books they had lent us, and to withdraw from school. When my English teacher heard what had happened, he invited us to stay with his family until something could be done. We lived with them for a week but realized we wouldn’t be able to stay any longer. So we went back to Mexico where we reunited with our parents.

Through this experience, I have realized that if I’m going to do something right in this life, it won’t be in a country that lied to my family and me. It won’t be in a country that mistreated my mom. If I am going to do something right, it will be for my country.

Now I’m pursuing my “Mexican Dream.” I hope that one day my people will have the opportunity to receive a good education and get a good job without needing to migrate to the United States or any other country for these opportunities.

When we enrolled in school in Mexico, my brothers and I started pursuing this Mexican Dream. We ran for student council at my school and got elected. During this year, we have been working to implement a series of programs that promote interest in science and technology, reading, environmental conservation, and community service.

Now we are fighting to achieve our Mexican Dream.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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satellite23 said...
Feb. 10, 2013 at 8:35 pm
Geez, that was some story. The Mexican Dream; I love the idea! It's aggressive achievers like you that make the world spin! You have so much potential, Mateo, don't let anything else get in your way!
MateoMansillaMoya This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 10, 2013 at 9:13 pm
Thank you so much, @satellite23! I apprecite your comment a lot (: 
Imaginedangerous This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 3, 2013 at 4:37 pm
Congratulations on overcoming your obstacles and finding ways to improve your home country. Obviously they didn't want someone bright, capable, hardworking, and good at writing here in the US. Why would we invite immigrants to live here when they have so much to add to our society?   This is a perfect example of why the American immigration system is such a disaster.
MateoMansilla This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 4, 2013 at 5:01 pm
You are right, Imaginedangerous. Thank you! 
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