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The Struggle

I’m a student at Amelia Earhart High School and I am an immigrant from Mexico. I came to this country at the age of 8 in search of a better life. It was very hard for me to leave my country but it was even harder to live there. I hate to say it, but in Mexico there is no opportunity to succeed unless you are born in a golden crib. It seems that every respectable person over there turns out to be corrupted.

It was 1995 when we first arrived here. I came with my mom, my sister and my little brother. My dad was already here. We came because of him. My sister, my mom and I came here illegally. My brother, who was less than a year old, came separately. Since my dad wasn’t in Mexico he wasn’t able to get my little brother a passport. We had to find a way to bring him with us. Luckily my dad’s co-worker had a friend who was willing to bring my little brother from Mexico as his son. But the problem was that we didn’t know him at all. It was a very hard decision for my parents but we had no other choice. The guy took longer than he was supposed to, but he brought my brother safe and sound. That was one of the worst situations we had to go through. It was like torture, just thinking of everything that could go wrong. But thank God, nothing did.

My dad’s brother lived here, too, but he lived in San Diego. He had been here for a long time already, so he was a U.S. citizen. It took my dad two years to convince my uncle to sponsor us. My uncle thought it was a big responsibility and was scared to go through with it, but finally he realized that we were family and decided to sign the papers. They told me dad that we had to wait for seven to 10 years and we would receive our green cards. It’s been 10 years already and we haven’t received anything. My dad has spent more than $5,000 trying to get our papers but they keep changing the dates.

Now these fools are trying to pass laws that would flush everything down the toiler and make us end up where we started. I think that’s bulls—. My parents have been breaking their backs working here trying to fit in to the American culture, paying taxes, paying to get our papers and all of a sudden these fools just want to kick us out because of some racist politicians. It’s not fair. This country’s constitution is based on everyone being equal, even if you’re an immigrant. This law would violate the constitution. They really need to look at things and realize that this country won’t function with immigrants.

These racist laws should be thrown away and never should be considered again. IT would really affect everyone in this country. Without immigrants the whole economy of this country would fall apart. We should keep this country just how it is.
—Fernando A.

I am a natural born citizen. My mother has been a U.S. citizen for more than 15 years. If it weren’t for her I wouldn’t be writing this. I am a taxpayer as well as many others, the ones that some people have labeled “criminals.” My question is why “criminals?” How can you call people who work hard for long hours in horrible conditions, “criminals?” I’m pretty sure that your children or even you wouldn’t go out to the fields to pick fruits and vegetables. Have you ever wondered where your food came from?

Many lives have been lost in the fields. But people don’t only work in the fields; they also cut your lawns, build your houses and paint them as well as make your clothes and clean your homes. The reason why thousands of people cross the borders is to have better lives. I honestly believe that you need to think about the U.S.’s future. How long can you live without us?
—Perla V.

I have an aunt that is illegal and doesn’t have “papers,” but she is a very hard worker. She has two children and lives in an apartment in Los Angeles. She works six days a week and she is struggling, but she works hard and is not giving up. A lot of my family members are hard workers. They come from Peru. My father was the first to come to America, and he said that he had a hard time. HE started out as a painted, but after a while he worked his way up to become an assistant manager for a publishing company. He helped the rest of my family come to America while also still sending money to our relatives in Peru.

There are many people who are illegal who are also hard workers. They built most of our country. America depends on immigrants very much and we would probably go bankrupt as a country if they were all kicked out. Everyone needs to know it’s not about what race, culture or other differences people have. It’s about humanity. We are all humans and what I think is: This world is big enough for all of us, so let’s share it.
—Peter V.

My story is about my mom being in American illegally. I was growing up living with my mom and older sister in a garage. My dad had just left us because my mom and he had gotten into an argument. My mom had never worked a day in her life and needed to start because my dad had been the one who made money for the family.

The first thing my mom had to do was find a job. I remember going to sleep every night, sleeping in my mom’s arms and waking up with her gone to look for a job and not being successful. My mom had to go to her plan B, which was going to school for nursing. When she finally got her degree she began to work really hard. Sometimes I didn’t see her until the morning, so before I went to be I would pray that she would be OK and come home safe.

The second thing that my mom went through was finding a new place to live. Finding a place was hard for my mom, because she did not have her green card and she had never established credit. It took three months for my mom to find a place for us to live. She went through at least 30 apartments. When my mom finally found an apartment, it was because my uncle was the manager.

The last thing my mom went through was getting her green card. My mom waited a total of 25 years to get her green card. I don’t know why she waited so long, but she did. When she finally got her green card, she quit her old job and started working in real estate. She now makes about $60,000 a year.
—Conrad M.

I feel that is not fair to make it a felony for immigrants to be here. If Latinos pay their taxes, they shouldn’t get deported back to their home countries and if they do get sent back to their home countries, the government should give back all the tax money that they paid. It isn’t fair for kids that came here to get deported if they go to school and it’s not fair for them because they didn’t plan this to happen. They didn’t decide to break the law.

Since I cam remember my mom has been going to an organization for amnesty for Central Americans. I would always go with her. She would have to miss work just to go over there. I would always sit there for hours to wait for her. I would always see her really worried and sad every time I went with her. I would always hear my mom saying that she would get deported. I would always hear her telling my aunt to take care of me if someday they deported her. That’s why I support immigrants because I wouldn’t’ want anybody else to go through what my mom went through and I wouldn’t’ want anyone else to feel the same way I felt. It took my mom about 13 years to finally get her papers.

I think it’s not fair what the government does. We are welcoming immigrants to the United States to work for us to do the things we don’t want to do, like construction, gardening, painting and cleaning houses. Sending undocumented immigrants back to their countries with no money is not fair because of all the taxes and bills they had to pay to support their families.

I support Latinos because I also have a family that came here illegally and I wouldn’t want families to suffer by being separated from each other like we feared.
—Mario G.

Real American

My mom came here from Tijuana when she was young. She came with her sisters and brothers without my grandma and grandpa. They were all very young; and they walked here. They had to pass through a long dark tunnel at the border. In the tunnel the air was bad and there were rats that bit them. My mom is terrified of rats. They didn’t have anywhere to live. Then they moved in with a family member who didn’t give them anything to eat, so my mom went over to a factory to get a job. At first the owner told my mom that she was too yo8ung to work. My mom didn’t take no for an answer. She went there every day to try to get the job until the owner hired her. That’s when my mom got an apartment. After a while my mom got a house. The people who are brave and strong enough to build a life for themselves in a hostile country are the people who have the American values. The conditions in the factory where my mother worked were bad. It was hard labor working standing around different kinds of chemicals and dangerous machines that could chop someone’s arm off like nothing.

My mom is now disabled. She has ruptured the discs in her spine and she cannot do factory work anymore. People who come here with nothing and make something out of themselves by working should be able to become legal residents and eventually citizens. A lot of people who come here with nothing work so much that they can’t get an education. For example, my mother was never able to attend school because she had so many responsibilities. But my mom is really smart. She learned a lot about real estate and contracts and she has been able to own property and make a living. She is a self-educated person. America has always run on the labor of immigrants. That’s why immigrants should be permanent legal residents.
—Oscar G.

My story is that I’m an illegal immigrant, but I have been in the United States almost my entire life. I was born in Mexico and my parents brought me here before I was 40 days old. My parents are illegal, too, but my little sister is a citizen. The only reason we are here is because we want a better life. My parents had a hard time just living here in California. Now that I’ve grown up, I understand my parents and why they are here working hard for what they want in life. The reason why it is important for me to talk about my life is because I really hope the President decides to give us a chance to be part of this country. It’s not fair that they want our family to go back to our original country. I have never been in my own country and I speak good English, so actually I feel that I belong in the United States.

I consider myself part of the United States because I have been here almost all of my life. My schooling has been in the United States and my lifestyle, especially the music I love, comes from the United States.

Now after 18 years, there are marches going on all over the country. Ordinary immigrants are marching alongside labor, religious and civil rights leaders. They are all together peacefully telling what they want, which above all is the possibility of becoming Americans.

I participated in the walkout with my fellow students. We met at the Van Nuys courthouse. This was an experience for each of us to understand what’s really going on in the world.
—Marisol P.

We walk for a reason

Hola mis compadres americanos, me llano Ashley N. and I am a second-generation Mexican-American. I go to school at Amelia Earhart Continuation High School in North Hollywood and I walked out on Monday, March 27, 2006.

I walked out. I walked out for myself and my mother because we actually had a chance to feel Americás undying freedom. I walked out for my nana and her sister, whose aunt in the States had to pay to bring them to this great country of ours. I walked out for mí nana’s párenos and familia back home in México who only dreamt about our country’s freedom and opportunities. And I walked out also for my uncle who became a coyote so he could smuggle in his wife’s familia from México so they could have a better life.

As an American, I feel it is my right to speak for the rights of the defenseless and the discriminated against. It’s my right to protest and walk out for what I believe in, and I believe in the rights of immigrants since our fruits were picked by the labor of slaves and immigrants. They put food on our dinner tables, clothes on our backs; they watch our babies when we’re out and care for this land’s agriculture. Immigrants make this country of ours, for aren’t we all immigrants?

The only true natives are the Native Americans and they were locked up in their own land that white Europeans conquered because of their belief in Manifest Destiny. And because of Manifest Destiny, they’ve giving immigrants no rights to this land, which stands for freedom and equality.

So I walked out for all those immigrants who see this great land of ours as an opportunity they can’t get in their homeland.
—Ashley N.


I am against HR4437 because it stereotypes all immigrants as criminals. Immigrants are the feet of the United States. We are the ones who keep it running. My brother-in-law has been in the country for 10 years, working in construction, building, framing and taping for his country. Now he’s trying to get a green card and they’re making him go back to Mexico for six months and leave his wife and three little girls behind. My question is, why? He is a hard-working man, making the United States a better place. Why send him back? If he went through hell to get to a country of FREEDOM, to become a successful person, why are they going to send him back just so he can become an American citizen? Why throw away the motor of the United States?
—Cesar M.

The majority of immigrants don’t mess with anyone; all they do is work from sun up to sun down. They are not criminals. All they want is equal right for themselves and their families, just like anyone else in the country. The only crime that these people have ever committed is to want a better place to live. All they want is for their families to have the opportunities that they didn’t have. I think that these people are truly Americans because they are the ones that work the hardest just to see the country where they live not fail.
—Jenmy C.

My name is I was born in Mexico. My parents brought my sisters and me to the United States when I was 7 years old. When I started to go to school here I didn’t know how to speak any English. When I was in class, some of the students would make fun of me because I didn’t know any English. After about a year in school, I learned to speak English well enough to feel comfortable talking to my friends and kind of write, too. I was an immigrant for nine years. I finally got my papers and now I can go to Mexico to visit my family. I still feel like an immigrant even though I have my papers. People treat us the same and I feel the same. I am not treated with the respect I should get as a legal immigrant. I don’t think it’s right that they want to send immigrants back to their home countries.
—Julio A.

I was born and raised in California. I am 18 years old and living in a small single room with my sister, brother and father’s spouse. We can’t live in a bigger apartment because my father has no experience and had no higher education. Of course, education is money and my father lacks education.

Being in my father’s shoes must be really hard. I wonder sometimes what he thinks about besides work and how badly his boss treats him. He lives a hard life just to keep my siblings and me alive. It would be really tragic if my father were sent back to his country because all he has worked for would be wasted. My father’s parents are really poor. They sometimes don’t have enough food for weeks. I wish they were here because here there is a more comfortable and warm apartment to sleep in, instead of an old dilapidated house.

My opinion about immigration is that it is selfish, racist and cruel for not letting other people live where they can have better lives than where they were born. This is everyone’s land and we should share it.
—Marcos M.