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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  • US the only place I've ever known

    | Anonymous

    I came to the US in 2002 with no say on whether I wanted to come or not. The US has been the only place I've ever known. My parents wanted to come here to give my brother and I a better education. That's great but what do when we graduate high school? I don't want to go back to Argentina. I don't remember a single bit of it. I'm…
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  • Happiness without a career

    | Ricky R

    When I realize at my age of 33 why my personality is very calm and patient, I can only thank my mother and friends whether they know or not my status. I lived here in CA since the year 1985 and it is now 2011. What have I accomplished? Well, I am the first in my family to go past a High School education. Can you imagine completing College? Well,…
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  • I am a Californian

    | Anonymous

    I love America. I have loved it ever since I stepped foot in this country, when I was thirteen. From my phone conversations with my immigrant uncle, I always heard about how great this country is, how nice the people are, how full of opportunities and top notch education she offers. So, when my father decided to apply for a tourist visa, I was on cloud nine...I would finally be…
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  • Jackie, Who Deserves to be an American?

    | Jackie Chavez

    Until a few years ago I'd never met an "illegal immigrant" . [Or so I thought] In fact the words never conjured any emotion. Although I am hispanic, I'd never given immigration laws a second thought. A couple years ago I started dating a guy. We were quite in love and I starting attending his parents church on occasion. While there, I met some of the most colorful characters I've…
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  • U.S citizens less than green card holders

    | Anonymous

    I am a U.S. citizen. I served 17 years in the U.S. Marine corps. My husband of 9 years is undocumented. We have 2 children. Last year we received a phone call from a friend his whose wife is from Honduras. He had just received his green card. His wife has been in the U.S. for about 15 years I believe. Because of a special law for people from her…
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