By Magdalena Loredo
During my sophomore year of high school, I was determined to drive, to work and to go to college immediately after high school. But during the two years until I graduated, I realized I was not going to have the same opportunities as my friends.
I was different. I didn’t have a Social Security number.
I realized what being undocumented really meant, so I decided to leave the U.S. and move to Mexico.
I said my goodbyes and crossed the border in June 2008. It felt like the biggest mistake of my life. I left my home. The Land of Opportunity.
I felt like the most stupid person on earth for forgetting my parents’ sacrifice of moving to the U.S. I was seeking a better life in the country that couldn’t give them any better.
I’d lived in the U.S. since I was two years old. I moved away just days after my high school graduation at 18.
It is now October 2015, more than seven years or exactly 88 months since I left the U.S. And thanks to the many angels in my life, I was able to apply for a nonimmigrant B1/B2 VISA.
I started the application process back in September and as the date of my interview approached, all I expected was rejection.
I left the Mexico City home of Jill Anderson, the author of Los Otros Dreamers, at 7 a.m. the day of my interview.
I stood in front of the U.S. Embassy at Paseo de la Reforma remembering all the times I’d passed by it thinking about my interview date.
I walked in and heard the security officer directing people with his loud, firm voice. I sat in line 36 and waited for my turn to walk up to the window and be face-to-face with the immigration agent.
I wasn’t the ideal recipient for a tourist visa. I didn’t have a large bank account and I had deep ties to the U.S.
When I was called up, the agent asked me where I was going, when I was going, why I was going and who I was going with — all in Spanish. Suddenly, she surprisingly told me that I speak English and started asking me about my life in the U.S.
She stood and left for more than 10 minutes because she needed to consult my case with her superior.
I stared at the empty chair in front of me and my passport laying on the desk for the longest 10 minutes of life.
She returned and asked me similar questions.
“I want to issue you the visa. It was not your decision to migrate,” the agent said. “I will issue it to you for 10 years.”
My eyes watered as I left the embassy and I felt like shouting out my happiness.
I trued to keep a straight face when Jill and her family asked me how it went.
“I got it for 10 years!” I told them and we hugged and cried.
I am now preparing to fly to California to present Los Otros Dreamers with Jill and the amazing photographer Nin Solis.
I am going back to my home after 88 months. After 88 months of believing I’d never be back.
I feel so privileged and ready to advocate about what it means to be an otr@ DREAMer, to talk about solidarity and what it means to leave the U.S. after a lifetime.
I will use this time to advocate for me and for all the DREAMers who have been deported or who have returned to Mexico out of hopelessness.
My plans for now include another trip in January of 2016 to visit my home state of Georgia and be with my family and friends. I’ll also meet my brother´s family and welcome my second nephew who’s due around that time.
Magdalena graduated from Georgia’s Southeast High School in May of 2008. A month after graduation she moved to Mexico where she started training and working as an English teacher. Now, she is studying a degree in business administration specializing in tourism. She has a job at a restaurant in the customer service area and also teaches English classes. When she’s not busy with school, work and teaching English, Magdalena shares her thoughts, insights and perspectives on her personal blog.