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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  • Dreams are only Dreams

    | Lupe Morales

    I came to the United States when i was only four. i came with my mother and younger sister since my father had been in the United States for a couple of years now. i remember watching the trees shrink as the plane flew higher and higher. when we finally arrive in Los Angeles we stayed with my father's friends for a while. they helped us get a small apartment…
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  • Drop The "I" Word

    | Roy Naim

    WHAT? Yesterday on the good ole' Twitter I tweeted that I wanted to interview illegal immigrants on their stories, on their dreams. Someone replied to me with the following words: #DropTheIWord and call us undocumented. Upon further research, I found there is a whole movement about this. To not call us (YES, myself included) illegal. Instead, we are undocumented. We just don't have papers. But for the right of mankind,…
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  • The American Dream

    | Anonymous

    This nation holds the promise of the American dream: the freedom and opportunity to make it, and make it good. I, as a born citizen in the U.S.A. have all rights and priveledge of acces to it. I am well aware of those who don't. And why don't they? Because they came illegally. But, does anyone who says these people are "evil" or "criminals" stop to think about why they…
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  • Dismissed: A Human Perspective

    | Brian Kim

    Having lived in California my entire life, the issue of immigration reform has been a touchy subject for Californians and Americans alike in addressing the illegal immigration that is taking place along the US-Mexico border today. But these “illegals” are not too far from my story of being a first generation immigrant. In 1986, the Reagan administration granted my parents, South Korean immigrants, amnesty for permanent residence and therefore I…
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  • United States is where immigrant aren't accepted but tolerated

    | Irving Hernandez

    My name is Irving Hernandez and I lived 11 years illegally in United States. Graduated with a media degree and just like Vargas I done journalism together with people working in USA Today, Washington Post, Boston Globe through UNITY and sponsored by NAHJ. Unlike most stories supporting amnesty mine is more about educating to abide laws if you want to be taken seriously. What Vargas is promoting is amnesty and…
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