Mitt Romney once said, “We are a nation of immigrants. We are the children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the ones who wanted a better life, the driven ones, the ones who woke up at night hearing that voice telling them that life in that place called America could be better.”
I am heartbroken to see lately a piece of paper becoming more and more precious than humankind in a place once admired as a great nation. It has become normal for us to wake up in the morning, turn on the TV only to hear about how immigrants are treated inhumanely on the borders of the United States. A plethora of people are risking their lives for the American Dream because it opens doors for a better life for people, it gives hope. I did not know much about immigration until recently when I started my research for the Honors In Action project of Alpha Theta Phi at LaGuardia Community College. I thought of immigration as the media shows us every day, alienated, “rapists”,criminals. But I was wrong, I did not realize that every individual had their own story and it is not the story that everyone shares. Every story is unique on their own, people’s experiences, their hardships, and their vision are different and we cannot generalize them.
My parents moved to the United States when I was 17. I was a girl who was trying to escape the horrors her country was facing. My country was not a safe place especially for girls because you do not know when you’re the next victim of a robbery or being raped. The United States of America opened its doors for us, provided us opportunities to have a better life. Of course, it was not easy transitioning but my mother has been the biggest motivation, a role model for me because she has always fought bravely to support the education of her children to make a better life alone without the support of anyone. Being a single mother with three children to support is not an easy task.
Because of my mother, I describe myself privileged to be able to have a better education that will fulfill my lifetime dreams and goals as well as security. Being a permanent resident, I have free doctor visits while my friends haven’t been to a doctor. Not all immigrants have the same opportunities that I have.
I have never felt so many emotions in my life until I started to enlighten myself about immigrant hardships that are people facing across the country. My mother, sister, and I all have our passports, but my best friend does not have proper documents to be able to work or receive funds towards her education. My friend was a senior in high school when she found out that she cannot apply for any federal funds that prevented her continuing her education. She ended up not going to college because she cannot afford tuition, however, she is working to save money so she can pursue her dreams. These stories break my heart and every day people are suffering indescribable. I feel so helpless and sometimes wonder why I have no power to help them.
I am now 20 years old, and I seek to transfer to a college to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Nursing. I am so happy that I am about to graduate with an associate degree in Science and would be able to give back as a nurse. I intend to help with the education that I was so privileged to gain by providing resources and maybe even give scholarships to those who cannot afford. I am sure immigrants that you just bump in the streets have a unique story. Sometimes we need to share our stories so people can know that we are not here to create crimes or cause destruction but have the opportunity to build a better life for themselves or family.
It is never easy to live a life as an immigrant especially with where immigration stands today. This is a story of how fortunate and unfortunate I am. When you turn your TV and listen to your local news sources, you will hear about how hard it is to integrate into the United States or negative stories about immigrants. Bu, no one will tell you how to work and overcome the problem that immigrants are facing.
Numbers do not tell the story of an immigrant. People do! I am an immigrant, and this is my story.