Growing up as an immigrant has been a very rough ride, and a lot of things that I’ve been through. I don’t remember much about Mexico because I immigrated to America when I was four years old.
My dad had been in the US for a longer time and he sent for us . He had a small apartment in California, where we first lived. I thought I was still in Mexico, because when we crossed the border I was fast asleep with my older sister next to my side. I remember waking up to see my dad talking and hugging my older sister, my mom came after she took a bit longer to cross because children and adults crossed differently (if you had money to).
Over the years my parents would always tell me that I was like everyone else, but I knew I was different because I couldn’t speak like them. I started school late because I didn’t know how to speak English.When I was in 3rd grade there was a teacher that would give English classes after school.
As I got older, I started to notice that the fact that I was an immigrant had many effects on me. At stores I would hear people whisper how much they hated Mexicans or how we did not belong in this country simply because we weren’t born here. One time my mom was paying at the cash register when an older many in his late 30s came up to her and asked her if she needed help. The way he asked was how you would talk to a puppy you are trying to command. I told him we understood what he said and he said “ okay b**ners I won’t help you then.” It didn’t really bother me because at the time I was still young, but the older I got, the more I understood that we went welcomed here by many people. I noticed that I wasn’t the only one of hundreds of thousands of people that went through what we did.
When I was in my last years of middle school that’s when everything really bothered me. I remember that I got called b**ner by this group of kids, me at the time was already in Mixed Martial Arts and got in a fight with the kids, they school called my parents and we had to talk to the principal. I remember that the principal told my parents that I got in the fight because I was called a racist name and I took matters into my own hands.
Nowadays being called names or having people say bad thing about my race doesn’t bother me anymore. The only thing that does bother me is whenever people, especially politicians say the phrase “Illegal Alien.”
Why the name “Alien?” Am I a small green creature with big eyes that takes you into outer space? Am I from another planet? Why is the term “Alien” used to call people from another country? Why can’t they call us something different.
We immigrants, we are all humans, we all feel pain, we all have feelings, we all have families and dream, we all bleed the same color blood as everyone else in this country. I am not different than you, or the person next to you, or the person behind you, but my ethnicity and where I come from. Why are Mexicans and other races targeted for being human? As far as I know Mexico welcomes people. Mexico doesn’t have a border that stops people from coming in, in fact they want people to go to have fun on their vacations, or even to move there.
Now that I am in high school I really notice what I really am affected by, I received my DACA status, or Deferred Action for Child Arrivals, during my freshman year of high school. DACA is for people that are not from the U.S, but arrived as children to this country. I need my DACA status be able to work, go to a college or university. My DACA status allows me to fulfil my dreams of becoming anything I dream of being. Without my DACA status, my dreams of becoming an Animal Biologist are gone, and everyone’s dreams are gone without it. Now that president Trump is in office, DACA has been challenged and whether to keep it or have DACA be taken away will impact thousands of immigrants.
I am afraid that DACA will be taken away, I’m scared of losing everything that I have accomplished, scared for what my parents have done for me, scared that I might never have a chance to become who I believe I am. I have dreams, we have dreams and that’s why us, all of us with DACA status, are called “Dreamers”.
- Words and Photos by Jose Cruz Gonzalez