Page 5 of 5
Senior at Central High School, and hopes to start college next fall
I get really nervous when I tell my story.
When I was younger, I didn't know I was undocumented. I didn't know what it meant. I didn't know I couldn't travel. I didn't know I couldn't vote. I'd love to vote someday. I didn't know I wouldn't be able to go back to my country and see my family again — my grandma. I came here without a choice. I didn't think about it, but a few years ago, it was like it hit me: This is real. It was difficult for me to think about it.
My dad came here from Argentina in 2000 to work, then me and my mom and my sister followed in 2004 when I was 9 years old. My uncle was living in Arkansas and that's why we came here to live. I remember starting school. When I got here, I couldn't speak English at all. I only knew how to say "Hi," and "OK." There were two Hispanic kids in my class, and they always made fun of me. I was like: If you're Hispanic, you should help me. My teacher would just give me the work and say: "Don't even do it if you don't know what you're doing." I cried every morning before school and every afternoon after I got home, because I didn't want to go. I thought: What is the point of me going to school?
That summer, I learned English by myself. I was like: I have to learn English to help my mom out, and help my sisters. I'm the only one in the house to translate for my parents. They need me. I'm the only one who can help my sisters with their homework, because my mom doesn't understand. I have to do this by myself. I learned English, and in the fifth grade, I finally started learning. There were people there that actually helped me.
My parents have always worried about being undocumented. I remember one day, someone called my mom and told her that Immigration officers were on University Avenue, and my mom had to go that way because it was the day she did the grocery shopping. My mom was so afraid. It was scary. I had to imagine my mom being deported back, and I couldn't live without my parents. I need them here. I'm only 17, and I want them to be here to see all the great things I'm going to do. It was terrifying.
In my ninth grade year, I was like: Why should I care about high school? I'm just going to graduate and not even go to college. I can't even work when I get out of college. It's a waste of time and money, and I'm going to get nothing back. I just wanted to go to high school and get it over with. I didn't care.
My mom knew I didn't want to go to college, but she was like: "You have to go. I'll work three jobs, four jobs. I'll work my butt off for you to go to college. I don't want you to go to work cleaning bathrooms for other people."
That's when everything came together in my head. I realized that I should have done better in high school, and I started trying my hardest. I realized that I'm actually here for a reason, and that I can actually do something.
I know people from other schools who are undocumented, and some of them just dropped out. They were like: I don't even care if I graduate. Now I feel like a lot of them regret it. Some of my friends are out there working, and some of them say: I should have made a better choice and stayed in high school.
Now that we've got Deferred Action, it's better for us. We can make something. There's something happening. Everything is coming together. There are people out there trying to help us. There are people out there who care about us. That's what made me excited. I was like: I'm going to do better in school, and I'm going to fight for what I want.
In college, I want to try different things. I've thought about being a lawyer, because I want to help Hispanics. I want to actually go out there and say: I'm here for you. I want to help you. You're not alone. There are other people in the state and in the country who care about you, who want to help you. I want to give Hispanic people a voice and actually try to talk to them and let them know there's somebody out there and that it's OK to come out of the shadows.
What I want people to know is that I haven't broken a law. I was brought here before I could decide, but my parents came here because they wanted something better for us. They say don't judge a book by its cover, and the people who say kick us all out are judging the book by a cover. They don't know us. Come and meet us. Actually come and talk to us. Try to experience what we go through. Picture your life without your parents, or your family. Picture your family being separated. Imagine not being able to see your children anymore, or your family being in a different country. Imagine how you'd feel in that moment.
This should be a welcome opportunity to Arkansas environmentalists who want to reduce their carbon…
Just wondering when Ar is suppose to get Medical use of Marijuana..in 2013 cuz i…
Home Energy Rx (http://www.homeenergyrx.com/faq_5017_ct.as…) offers free home energy evaluations if you meet…
A&E Feature / To-Do List / In Brief / Movie Reviews / Music Reviews / Theater Reviews / A&E News / Art Notes / Graham Gordy / Books / Media / Dining Reviews / Dining Guide / What's Cookin' / Calendar / The Televisionist / Movie Listings / Gallery Listings