- What is your oldest memory before coming to the U.S?
The oldest memory I have is of my sister and I playing by the river making “Mud Cakes”.
- What do you miss the most from home as a child?
Playing out in nature, climbing on trees and walking to my grandparent’s house.
- What emotions can you remember when coming to the U.S?
I recall being excited because my siblings and I were told that we would only be in the United States for a couple years. Throughout the process there was certainly a mix of emotions; saying goodbye to my grandparents made me sad and confused as their goodbye felt like it was unknown as to when we would see each other again.
- What do you miss the most as an adult?
Sitting on the front porch and all the food.
- What differences were there in school in Mexico and school in the U.S?
The school I attended only had 2 rooms. One was for elementary and the second for Middle School. I recall my sister who is only a year younger than me getting hit with a ruler by the professor because she did not know the answer to a math problem. And that has to be the biggest difference.
- What was the biggest struggle when you first got here?
Because I immediately went to elementary school my parents expected me to learn English instantly. That was not the case, yet the level of responsibility began to grow from there on. I was expected to translate for them and communicate on their behalf because they also did not speak any English.
- How many family members came with you to the U.S?
Mother, Father, sister, and brother
- How did your family help each other adjust or get acclimated to a new home?
My father had a sister living in Tijuana, Mexico and 3 other sisters living here in the Bay Area. When we finally made it to Los Angeles were picked up by one of my aunts and her husband to drive us to the Bay Area. We were then allowed to stay with them in their living room until my father was able to make enough money to afford paying for an actual bedroom. I recall the 5 of us sleeping on the living room floor and doing my homework on a corner while laying down.
- What were the processes of the DACA program?
When DACA became available, it was a scary process as there were comments floating around about now immigration having all your information and the minute this program would get cut off we would all get deported. At this time I was going to San Jose State University and was getting really close to graduating. While it was scary I decided to move forward with the process with the idea of getting a better job after I graduated. I paid $1,500 for the initial process to get done with an actual attorney. I was also scared of doing this myself in fear of doing it wrong.
- What do you consider your greatest accomplishment since you’ve been here?
The biggest accomplishment must be that I was the first one in my family to graduate from College. Not to mention that being the oldest of my siblings the responsibility of laying out a path for them was always pressed up on me. But this is the greatest accomplishment in the sense that I truly had to work hard for this. I became a 10-year college student because at times I had to take a semester off in between because I did not have enough money to pay for my tuition and books. I was working a full-time job making $7.25 an hour when I first started at SJSU. I also know that this would have never been possible without the support from my parents and my now husband.
- How hard was the process to become a citizen? Why?
I went from being a Dreamer (DACA) and got married to my husband who helped me through my journey of becoming a legal resident to now a Naturalized US Citizen. I would not say the process was hard in the sense that our relationship was real and there was nothing to be afraid of. The hardest part is gathering all required documentation, having the financials in place to cover the costs of applications + attorney and after that is a waiting game.
This interview was conducted by the subject’s husband.