This I Believe: Chasing the American Dream

This entry is part 1 of 4 in the series This I Believe

I arrived in the United States at the age of ten: No English, no friends, no close family and no knowledge of what would become of my life. Now, at the age of 20, I have realized how far I’ve come, not only as a human but as a student and as a citizen. To be successful in America, you have to work hard, believe in yourself, and conquer whatever gets in your way. That’s why I believe in the American Dream.

My mother had big dreams when she was younger. She wanted to thrive, to have a career and success. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. She had to give up all her dreams so that her daughters could follow theirs. In my home town in Mexico, all you see are fields, cows, small shops and street markets, and people trying to make some money so that they can feed their families. There are hard troubles and big discrepancies in income and education level. Either you have a high-paying job and live in town in a fancy house, or you live in the country and just focus on surviving. Education isn’t an option for those simply trying to survive, and being poor made us unable to work toward better things. I think back to the way I used to live, with my mother in America trying to earn money to send home, and me and my sister being raised by our grandmother. I didn’t want to live like that, so when my mother had saved enough money to send for me, I left Mexico for good.

It was hard coming here and the struggle to make it has been a long journey, but I am halfway there. I work hard and try my best. I thank America and the people that I have come to know who have helped me, because without them, I never would have made it. All the things that happened in my childhood have made me realize how much a person can take without giving up. America was once like a dream that could only be imagined or seen in movies, but I am fortunate enough to be able to experience its opportunities and beautiful moments firsthand.

I am a DACA student and a proud Mexican American. DACA has made it possible for me to be able to study and work, and being undocumented doesn’t mean I am a criminal, rapist, or drug dealer. Though I was not born here, I believe that I have earned the privilege of calling this country my home. I am a student and a hardworking person who deserves the same rights as all Americans: to be able to succeed and to live in the place where I grew up.

Undocumented people didn’t come to steal jobs or make the world a worse place. We came to revive dreams that were long forgotten. We left our countries and the people who tried to pull us down to their level. We chose America, the land of the free, the land of opportunities and dreams. Now it is time for America to choose us.

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