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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  • Immigration is a third wheel!

    | Anonymous

    My partner was petitioned to come to the US by his parents, who were already here, but due to their failing health he had to come before his paperwork was approved. He has been taking care of them for the past 12 years and is *still* waiting for approval. He can't work, he can't travel, and I do my best to support us both on one salary. We are deeply…
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  • Family and Friends

    | Janeane Haines

    Most of my family on my dad's side came to the US illegally from Czechoslovakia over 100 years ago. I'm here, a legal citizen, as is my dad, and my grandfather. And now that i have since moved away from that, I met my best friends, who are from Canada and Mexico. My friend from Mexico wasn't legal until a few weeks ago, and my friend from Canada's father had…
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  • 22 Years

    | Anonymous

    I arrive to California at the age of 14, I was afraid.. It was a nightmare I was rape, while crossing I had no clue of what was going on. I made it over the border after a couple months I was enrolled in school, thanks to a lovely Woman name Shelly; thanks to her I Finnish high school. Enrolled in college finish all my education while working two jobs,…
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  • Out of Status

    | jose librojo

    My family and I lawfully entered the United States in 1995 seeking political asylum. I was 15 years old at that time. I worked very hard to complete my studies to be a productive and contributing member of the United States. I earned my high school diploma from Westmoor High School in Daly City, CA in 1999. I was a pre-med student at San Francisco State University and received a…
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  • Life is Not Fair so Appreciate What You Have

    | Anonymous

    It was on my 14th birthday that we left Canada for a new life in the United States. My parents were not the kind to plan and do things by the book so we simply entered the US as tourists, driving across the border with the bare minimum of necessities so as not to arouse suspicion. Our belongings were scattered amongst several cars driven by friends and family who we…
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