Define American

Using the power of story to transcend politics and shift the conversation around citizenship

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  • I am a DREAMER...well almost...

    | Anonymous

    Meet Gabriela. A DREAMER... well almost... She missed the age-at entry requirement by a couple of months.

    After reading her story, don't you think she more than deserves a shot too?

    "I, Gabriela Monico, hereby declare as follows: My name is Gabriela Monico. I am a resident of California. I was born in San Salvador, El Salvador. I came to the United States in November 2005 on…

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  • Done Dreaming

    | Esmy Jimenez

    My name is Esmy Jimenez. I was raised in a small town in Washington State known for agriculture and friendly people. I graduated from the local high school as the Senior Class President. I was in National Honor Society and enrolled in all the AP classes my school provided. I even ran on the cross country team and (attempted) to play tennis. On weekends I worked for a catering company…
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  • No Papers Necessary.

    | Anonymous

    My name is Pat. My first "American" family member got to these shores in 1621. His name is William Claiborne and there is a plaque dedicated to him in the church at Jamestown. However, the other half of my family is Irish. The Irish side of my family, while I am not certain, very likely arrived here without any papers since they fled here during the famine. So, in…

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  • I am an American, but I live in the shadows...

    | Anonymous

    In 1998, I met my immigrant husband in Chicago while I was in AmeriCorps and going to school. By that time, he had been in the US for almost 10 years--he had earned his GED, learned English, and moved up from his original position as dishwasher to become a kitchen manager. We fell in love. In 2002, we got married in his hometown in Mexico. We were told that petitioning…
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  • I Teach Americans. So What?

    | Anonymous

    While sitting at a scholarship pageant, I remember how an idyllic teenage girl explained that her dream was to become a teacher. I was a cynical teen in those days and so I rolled my eyes as her sweet, but very breathy voice tinkled the words, "I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way." I had to chew on the sides of…
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  • My Book Tells the Sad Stories of LGBT Binational Couples Like Mine

    | Judy Rickard

    Because I cannot sponsor my wife for immigration, we have to be separated - torn apart - for months at a time. Many others have our struggle - many of them have a worse time than we do. I have gathered stories of LGBT binational families and created a resource that shares the face of this immigration and marriage discrimination and offers pages and pages of resources and media sources…
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  • My Family, My life..... has been torn apart

    | Anonymous

    In 1999, I met and married my husband. He is from Peru. In 2003, we had a son. I was born here in Virginia as was my son. Soon after we were married, we started paperwork for my husband to become a citizen. I knew he was not legal and didn't care because I thought .. "I am an American, when we get married, he will become an American!" Not…
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  • Teaching Undocumented Children

    | Taimi Ames Clark

    I teach English as a Second Language and English Literature. I didn't start teaching because I felt strongly about immigration, but I feel strongly now. I have watched intelligent, motivated young men and women struggle with issues of citizenship and education, and they haven't deserved those struggles. One student won a scholarship to a prestigious summer program in Washington, DC, but couldn't attend because he didn't have documentation for a…
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  • What is in the melting pot?

    | Anonymous

    No one ever really talks about what is in the Great American Melting Pot. I am here to tell you it is beans! We got black beans, lima, pinto, red, green, white! Each bean I mentioned you know represents a natonality. What a great pot we got brewing. Now that I got your attention, let me tell you the questions polititians should be asking and addressing. We should as legal…
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  • Waiting for my love to come

    | Kathy Key Calderon

    It took 47 years for me to find the "right" man. I refused to settle for less than that. Through prayer and determination, I was rewarded with a marriage that is everything I dreamed. My wonderful, hard-working husband is an undocumented immigrant. Under the current law, he would have to return to Mexico for 10 years before he could immigrate legally. I don't speak Spanish well enough to work as…
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