My family came with a job visa from Ecuador in 1994, I was four years old.
My dad opened his own business in Orlando Florida but was not making enough to fulfill the requirements, because I was very ill and my medical expenses were very substantial, all the money went to me. My family took me from doctor to doctor in search for a cure. After the visa was lost, my family decided to stay because I was in treatment with a doctor in Orlando Florida and I was doing well. At the same time my dad’s business grew and grew. We moved to Charlotte, NC where I was fully cured. Charlotte’s economy was in better shape to hold my dad’s business so it seemed like a great change.
Now 7 years later my dad owns a business, has 12 employees, having sales of 1M … keep in mind he is “illegal” or “partially undocumented”. They tried and tried and tried so many ways to get a status, but there is literally NO WAY to stay here and not have to leave to Ecuador for 10 years. If they left, I don’t think I could ever see them again. Also, all the employees he has would be left without jobs. We have to stay in the shadows for that reason, even though everyone thinks they are citizens. Having a business with sales of almost 1Mil a year, we can’t really have anyone know his status. I did get and will be petitioning them at the end of this year, after I get my citizenship. I am very exited to help my family; after all they did for me. I am so proud of my family for not giving up their American dream even though it looked impossible at one point, next year they should receive their residency and hopefully all the stress will go away and we will be able to expand the business to new heights.
Here is a bit on my personal story. As I mentioned I was always very ill, going from doctor to doctor. Thank fully when I was 15, I recovered tremendously, which helped me live my high school days happily. I was never really aware that I was “Illegal” my parents had gotten me and my family social security’s, the legal way, and back when they gave it to anyone basically. It was really after high school that I realized what I was. My dad is an engineer my mom an art teacher, my grandfather a lawyer, my grandmother a teacher, cousin a doctor…etc etc, all my family is educated. When it came to me, I knew I wanted to study finance and business. All my friends were going to UNCC, Duke, NC State, UNCG…etc. I was not eligible for financial aid or instate tuition. I was illegal. I had to pay out off state with no help. It shattered me when I found out. My parents did not care, they searched and searched and found a way for me to go to school, with no student loans. I enrolled in my community college, paying out of state tuition, but it was much more manageable than the other schools. I worked to pay my tuition. If I didn’t have enough money my parents would pay for it, or I would take just one class per semester.
I met my husband in tenth grade, and we got married my junior year in college. Since I got married and got my status my sophomore year, thankfully I was able to complete my associates with instate tuition. Now I am a junior at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, enrolled in the Belk College of business studying Finance. I could not have accomplished it without my parents support as well as my loving husband.
We came here to study, to open business, to grow, to have a better life. Being an american means that I can stay home, where I grew up. It means I can use my college degree to help my economy grow. It means that my children will live in a safe place where they will also be able to go to school, open businesses, and have a great life!