She called me objective. My friend is a bit older and has seen a bit of life. When she said that to me, I took it as a compliment. The more I thought about it, I accepted that it’s true. The problem with being objective? I don’t get to have a side. Sometimes it’s lonely where God has put me, out in left field. Then again, sometimes I am not alone.
It started with a friend of my hubby’s. She is actually an ex-volleyball player that he has kept in contact with. He told me that she needed prayer. I didn’t really need to know why, but he told me anyway. She was going to Mexico, because she had to enter the U.S. correctly as part of the process to become documented. Stupid me, I was surprised! I mean, what does someone who is undocumented look like? If you have read any of my writing, you will know that I don’t typically “not” think about things. So when this came across my path, I was hooked. Pondering…. Who really are the people they are talking about on the news?
It doesn’t matter which side is talking, they tend to lump people into a big group. And while these “dreamers” may have similar stories, I know that they are also more than that. So since I have been working on some other “getting to know you” type of writing projects, I thought about doing one of these. The problem…I just wasn’t sure? That was until, I knew I wasn’t out in left field by myself.
Mike (my hubby) came to me one day and proposed another project. “How about finding out who these people really are?” Not what the news, political parties or other people say they are, but straight from them. It’s good not to be alone. We had a moment when I told him that I had been thinking the same thing. (Thirty years of marriage must count for something.) So I hope you will join us. We hope to take the “issue” and present it for what it really is, the lives of everyday people. Taking this from what was once a dream of their parents, to “A Dream of their Own”………
My name is Wendoline. In 2002, just a few months after my seventh birthday, my brother, sister and I were brought to the U.S. from Michoacán, Mexico. My brother was eight and a half, and my younger sister just five. My father had already been in the United States a few times, but he would miss us too much and would come home. Things were financially rough when we were in Mexico. My memory of Mexico is sort of blurry, as it’s been over fifteen years since I was last in my hometown. The things I do remember though, is that it’s nothing like it is here. We lived in a small village, everyone was poor, but everyone loved each other. I remember when my dad was here and we were in Mexico, he would call us every day. He would tell us how he couldn’t wait for us to see how wonderful this country is, and he couldn’t wait to buy us all the toys that he couldn’t afford for us in Mexico.
My parents wanted us to have better future, so they decided it was time for us to follow my dad and head to the states. In my seven year-old mind, all I could think was “wow we finally get to be with my dad” and we couldn’t wait to be a complete family again! I don’t think I fully understood what we were doing was wrong, just that it was going to be a better place for all of us. My mom, brother, sister and I all headed to Mexicali where final arrangements were made to take us to the “other side of the wall”. My sister and I had to stay in a stranger’s home. My sister was chosen to go first, I can’t even imagine what my mom was feeling, having to leave her children with people she didn’t know. Anyway, my brother and my mom probably had it the roughest, but I won’t go into details. All I know is that what they went through, is nothing any parent would ever put their child and themselves through, unless they truly believed it was worth it.
We were finally here! It was so beautiful to be reunited with my dad and meet all kinds of family that we’ve never met before. We started school in South Central Los Angeles, where we were staying with family members. My dad was literally making approximately $150-200 a week, and working over 12 hours a day. Now that I am an adult, it was SAD when I found that out.
He got an amazing job opportunity with someone he met in the same industry, and this amazing man offered to move my whole family to Visalia, CA. They let us borrow a room in their beautiful home, until we got on our feet. They were such amazing people and treated us so much better than our own “family” ever did. My dad was finally getting paid decent money, my siblings and I were learning English, and even staying extra after school so we could learn more.
There has always been fear. Every single day, the fear of “La Migra” (ICE). I never told anyone, not even my closest friends, that I knew I was an illegal immigrant. When I got a little older, I began to understand. I knew it was wrong, but I knew there was nothing we could do. I knew we were trying and were on a twenty year waiting list. I knew our opportunities were very limited. We had no health care and no job permits. If we ever got hurt, the doctor was always paid in full. We knew all these things, yet we were still very thankful our parents brought us here. Even with the fear in the back of our minds, that everything could get taken away at any time, we are still grateful to be here. I was happy.
Fast forward 10 years to 2012, and the executive order (DACA) that put people on the path to citizenship. This one decision could help make our dreams become a reality. In 2013 I was married and continued to work toward my personal dreams as a wife and mother. The man I married was a U.S citizen, but it did not matter, because I had DACA.
In 2015 the presidential race made me feel that my dreams were being threatened. Not only mine, but those of my siblings and almost one million other young people. One million kids, with stories just like mine. Of course by this time I was already married for a couple of years, so it was time to start my citizenship process. My parents paid a total of $8,500 NOT including immigration fees for my siblings and I to get on the right path to citizenship. I got the chance to enter the U.S. legally and I have my permanent residency interview in less than a week from today. My brother just had his interview and is now waiting for his green card in the mail.
My sister is younger though, and she’s not married. And now the protection she received under DACA might be taken away from her. Her dreams, her hard work and her job are all at stake. She again faces the fear of deportation even though she’s done absolutely nothing wrong. And that makes me angry. We are not illegal aliens, we are human beings. And every single day, in every single class each morning we put our right hand over our heart and say our pledge of allegiance. Why? Well, we were raised here, and in our hearts, this is our country too.
I am living my “American dream” I own my home and I have two wonderful baby boys with an amazing man. I hope to raise my boys too see and understand that discrimination is real, and I pray to God they never have to go through anything like we did.