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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  • 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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  • Our story also has to do with heartless immigration policy

    | Anonymous

    I am ashamed of my country for many of it's heartless immigration policies and I am a strong supporter of "The Dream Act" and immigration reform on many levels. My/our story is also has to do with heartless immigration policy I'm a gay man. Have been all my life. I have learned the hard way that when you are a US citizen and you fall in love with someone of…
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  • Ex Undocumented

    | Carlos Hernandez

    I'm Carlos Hernandez, born in Mexico, living in the U.S. since the age of 9. I'm an ex-would-be-beneficiary of the DREAM Act. I"m a U.S. citizen now, I am an engineer, I'm a Texas-Ex, I'm hardworking, I contribute more than I'd ever have if still undocumented and I support the DREAM Act. Method of entry: Visitors Visa, 1992 U.S. Hometown: Galveston, TX (Age 9-18) Education: B.S. Petroleum Engineering from the…
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  • An Upside-Down Story

    | Amanda Murphy

    I met the love of my life upside-down in a cave, in the UK. We were both in school there, and as archaeologists, seemed to spend a lot of time together in the dirt. He liked my pancakes, I liked his Yorkshire slang. We both liked indie music. It was an All-American story, the cliche of dumb kids falling in love, only like our meeting, it ran backwards. When my…
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  • Binational family exiled in Queretaro, Mexico

    | Nicole Salgado

    Querétaro, Mexico Oct. 11, 2011 My name is Nicole Salgado, and I'm an ecologist, educator, and activist originally from upstate New York. I met my husband in the San Francisco Bay Area in 2001, after which my life was changed forever. Because of his immigration record, my husband had what is considered the permanent bar. We wanted to make things right, but our options were limited. Our lives could have…
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