I was fortunate enough to arrive in this great country on March 2003 from Lima, Peru. My parents sacrificed everything for me to get an American education and out of a country they believed would only hold me back. It would be years before they told me I was in fact living an illegal life.
It came as a shock that my parents, my brother and I were undocumented. “I’m one of them”, I immediately thought? In fact I was. I was an undocumented immigrant who considered himself American for most of my live. I would have been able to live with that as long as I could continue my education and live a normal life.
However, fate had different plans for me and my family. It wasn’t until AFTER we applied for and were granted American Citizenship that my world came crashing down. Due to whatever reason (I was told that an old friend of my mom’s who was also undocumented had gotten caught and provided officials with my moms name) were got caught. I remember the day my life took a sour and unforgettable twist. My mom dropped me off at the bus stop as normal but when I got home she wasn’t there.
When she finally arrived back home she told me, crying, how immigration officials came, arrested her, and took all of our papers (American Passports specially). It hit me like a bus full of my worst dreams. This lead to about two years of struggling with my mom’s criminal charges of falsifying documents and of course the idea that we could be deported at any time without due notice. It is at this point where I must admit that through all this one federal officer told my mom that it is in her best interest that she marry her boyfriend of the time (now my step-dad) and then he will begin to push paperwork, no rush. So it was so, and my mom get married but we decided it was best to leave issues at is and not rush anything. This also came crushing down.
I eventually reached senior year of high school. I was ecstatic after being accepted to great universities (Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Miami, University of Florida among some). So there I was doing the required federal online applications for financial aid (FAFSA) when I get a notice on my form that says something along the lines of “Your citizenship status could not be confirmed by the office of social security please provide documents as proof of your citizenship”. Scared, shocked, and almost shaking I ask my mom if I still have my American Passport, which I don’t, or my Certificate of Neutralization, which I don’t. I was absolutely devastated.
My mom decided it was time and to talk to the nice federal officer that handled her case, again putting my family in a state of fear. To add to the murkiness that is my life right now, he told my mom that me and my brother were citizens and that he had our passports to give back. Hope right? Fate it a cruel and sadistic bitch. Having been weeks or months since he informed us of those GREAT NEWS my mom decided to check up on the situation, to which she got the replied “I don’t have the passports”. She was stunned and to this day (this happened early this year) is scared to contact the federal agent again.
So where does this leave me? My stomach knots every time I get a letter from the University I hope to attend this fall because without a prove of citizenship I am sending my parents into debt to go to this school, but my mom would not have it any other day. I fear everyday will be my last in this country that raised me. My brother cannot get a license like his friends and forsakes his independence and autonomy. I cannot travel outside the country and I die a little inside knowing I am unwanted in this country. I absolutely cannot stand the though of not being able to go to college without documentation after all the hard work I went through and I end up being uneducated. But I think the absolute worst is not knowing where I stand legally so I am left to assume, I am Illegal.