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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Education > Guest Voz: Former Undocumented Student Shares What It Means to Be Somebody

Guest Voz: Former Undocumented Student Shares What It Means to Be Somebody

By Mariana Zamboni
LatinaLista

I am free at last!
But, even though I received my green card just six months ago, it still doesn’t wash away the 16 years of mental incarceration and humiliation one lives with when they are labeled undocumented and illegal in a place that is known globally as the “Land of the Free.”
Deep inside, I still can feel the pain, the tears, the nudo en la garganta (knot in the throat). Even today, as I stand on the highest privileged ground of higher education in this country — Harvard.

I’m currently studying for my Master’s, gearing up for another week of school. But before I talk about my experience here, I need to recap and share a little bit about my past.
My name is Mariana Zamboni. I was born in Guatemala and came to Los Angeles to be reunited with my mother in 1991. I attended the local Los Angeles Unified School District schools, was affected in some way or other by the Rodney King riots, Prop 187, and HR 4437.
Yet through the collective efforts of many, I was able to remain focused on school. When I discovered that my undocumented status created additional barriers in attending institutions of higher education, a part of me died.
To my rescue came the passage of Assembly Bill 540, months before graduating from high school. So transferring from California State University, Los Angeles to Los Angeles City College to UCLA, I was able to graduate with a degree in Psychology in June 2007.
The monetary assistance of extended family members, my parents, scholarships and my jobs helped me finance my education.
With help, I was admitted to a competitive research program that encourages underrepresented students to apply to graduate school.
Although, I never envisioned myself in graduate school (my undocumented status was going to hinder my ability to access funds) I applied to 4 schools. I kept thinking that it was a waste of time and went through a depressive episode during my last year at UCLA.
I kept thinking “is all this worth it?” I saw friends with degrees in Chemistry and Political Science from UCLA being waitresses or volunteering at local non-profits because no one would hire them due to their undocumented status.
Lawyers kept telling me that staying in school was the best thing I could do: “School is your sanctuary as an undocumented student.”

Therefore, I followed some advice and applied to graduate school. I applied to two “impossible” schools — Harvard and Brown, and to two “safe” schools — UCLA and Claremont.
When I read my acceptance letter via e-mail from Harvard, I went back to check to make sure it wasn’t spam. I couldn’t believe it.
I never dreamed of attending Harvard. I only applied because my advisor encouraged me to apply to “schools you don’t think you will get into.”
After reading my acceptance letter, I remembered a separate letter I had attached to my application explaining to the Admissions Committee how complicated my citizenship status was.
I told them: “I’ve lived in the U.S. for most of my life but don’t have a Social Security Number, work permit, or a green card. I am legally a citizen of Guatemala but have lived there only for 7 years and I have spent 16 years in Los Angeles, therefore I am not an international student.
“I hope that my immigration status does not hinder me from getting accepted or receiving financial assistance.”
Maybe that letter paid off in the end.
Receiving my green card in late March 2007 was a very happy surprise. It allowed me to accept my admission into Harvard. I now qualify for federal loans that are helping me finance my education — and I can do other things.
I am able to get on a plane. I can apply to any job and write a nine-digit number that belongs to me!
I am able to go dance at a club with my friends or catch a drink at the local bar because I have an ID now (you need a SSN to get an ID in most states).
It is easier to open a bank account and I can begin to establish credit. I can get a driver’s license and most importantly, I am able to prove who I am.
I can apply for scholarships and fellowships. I am able to HAVE an IDENTITY.
I will be able to return to Guatemala and reconcile with the life of the little girl that I left behind — but most importantly, I will be able to meet the father I never knew.
Harvard is a difficult place. I have been having a difficult time adjusting to all the changes. For the first time, I am able to compare how different and unique my experiences are.
Hanging out with people that share the same struggles, ideologies, concerns, and hope gives me security and comfort.
Most people that I am currently meeting are unaware of the challenges undocumented youth face. Some have shared that they cannot recall any challenges in their lives! I cannot honestly imagine a life without struggles.
Little by little, I hope to understand that it is imperative to embrace my experiences because they are not only mine — but ours.
As I end this note, I ponder on the possibility of seeing more of mi gente in this privileged space.
It is only through the passage of the DREAM Act or a comprehensive immigration bill that will make that possibility a reality.
I long for when more people can share the feeling of being free at last!

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Comment(45)

  • Frank
    October 19, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    Perhaps her letter should go out to every Mexican parent still in Mexico anticipating that illegal jump over our border with a child in tow.
    Although this illegal alien ended up being a success story, her struggles and pain are the direct responbility of her mother who brought her here. I would be more impressed with her however, if she admitted that breaking our immigraton laws is not the moral and right thing to do and discouraged others from doing so out of respect for the country that did so much for her.

  • Marisa Treviño
    October 19, 2007 at 5:21 pm

    Well, Frank, I think if this letter did go out to every poor parent in Mexico who is struggling with the decision of whether or not to come to the U.S. with their kids, Mariana’s story would reinforce in their minds that it would be the right decision.
    Mariana’s family is from Guatemala and just goes to show the suffering is happening all over South America.
    You talk about morality in breaking our immigration laws but where is the morality to stand by and watch this suffering take place in countries that are not capable to supply the jobs that the US can?
    The right thing to do can’t always be defined as legal but it can be defined as moral and humane.

  • Horace
    October 19, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    1. Foreigners have no entitlement to a job in the U.S. It’s up to the citizens of this country to decide who should be let in.
    2. We not only get well meaning illegal immigrants, we get the dregs of their society who follow them here.
    3. All of South America is in pain. We have a limit as to how many show up on our doorstep and can find work. The rest will have to be content with reforming their own governments. Marisa, your strategy is such a miniscule effort, it really amounts to nothing compared to what has to be done in Latin America. You seem to find solace in helping a few and ignoring the fundamental problems of Central and South America. Your real efforts should be directed towards the corruption of Mexico and the rest.
    4. Marisa, your efforts contribute to the perpetuation of social injustice in Mexico. There will be no pressure on Mexico to do a thing to reduce the poverty level in Mexico if there is no revolutionary pressure put on the scoundrels in Mexico City. Is that your goal, leaving the rest of Mexico in its current state by continuing to be an enabler for Calderon, Fox and company, because that’s just what you’re doing.
    5. It’s irrational to believe that adopting millions of Latin American poor will have no detrimental affect on our nation. It is inevitable that these people will avail themselves of our welfare system if they’re given a path to citizenship.
    6. Adopting millions of people who are barely literate in their own languages is contrary to the policy of every successful western nation. Our nation has directed its efforts toward a literate and skilled nation, and that goal will never be realized if we continue to allow illegal immigration.
    7. The poor of this nation are currently subsidized by the middle class and the rich. Why should Americans adopt millions of subsistence level foreigners and be inflicted with higher taxes to support additional poor?
    8. Marisa, would you as a Hispanic sponsor an poor and illiterate illegal alien family and pay for their health care when they become sick? If not, why not? If the head of household becomes unemployed, would you pay for that family’s food bills and utilities? If not why not? Would they become my responsibility or wards of the state?

  • Frank
    October 19, 2007 at 8:07 pm

    Horace, clap, clap, clap!

  • adriana
    October 19, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    We don’t punish other children of parents who break the law, so I don’t understand why we should make the exception for undocumented children? For instance, if a parents murders or gets arrested in the US for DUI, do we punish the child with the parent?
    This young girl has managed to achieve more than most American citizens will ever even imagine. I’m glad that she received that green card. She’s come this far. I’m sure that she will graduate from Harvard and become a role model for other young people regardless of immigration status and contribute positively to the economy. Harvard grads command top dollar.
    Let’s be real, she couldn’t tell her mom to stay in Guatemala and not enter the US illegally.
    Horace, I would like to believe that the US has directed its efforts toward a literate and skilled nation, but if you look at our funding of education in both the K-12 and higher educational arenas, you would never know it.

  • yave begnet
    October 19, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    Watch out, Mariana, you’re not out of the woods quite yet. Many LPRs get blindsided in the naturalization process by unexpected pitfalls, and some end up getting deported. Not to be a wet blanket, but I’d recommend you educate yourself as to what the natz requirements are so you can avoid problems. Also, you have the advantage of not being a young man of color, who the police seem to love to arrest. Oh wait, there I go pulling the race card again. Damn I love that race card, it helps me get up each morning to face the day.
    But really, props to you, and best of luck in the future.

  • Frank
    October 19, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    adriana, it isn’t about punishing illegal alien children who were brought here by their parents, it is about not rewarding them or their parents. If we pass the Dream Act or start rewarding these kids it just encourages more illegal immigration.

  • John Lamb
    October 20, 2007 at 5:08 am

    Congratulations to Mariana. How did she get her green card?

  • Deport Lou Dobbs
    October 20, 2007 at 8:32 am

    Great story. Congratulations to Marina. Everyone benefits from having educated and skilled citizens. There is no solid reason to be against the Dream Act. It is more a moral pardon for the mean spirited who want to hurt the innocent children than it is an amnesty.
    Oh, by the way f.y.f.

  • David O.
    October 20, 2007 at 8:42 am

    Dear Mariana,
    I applaud your success and I am very proud of you, irregardless of what the know nothings say.
    God bless,
    David

  • miguel
    October 20, 2007 at 9:48 am

    Mariana…Kudos on your trip. I am sure it is just the start. We have persons here that focus on a persons name to determine their background.
    I like your family’s contribution to the Zamboni ice machine. Same name so you, must be related.

  • Mariana
    October 20, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    Thank you for your positive comments.
    My parents and I were able to fix our immigration status through NACARA.

  • Horace
    October 20, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    “Horace, I would like to believe that the US has directed its efforts toward a literate and skilled nation, but if you look at our funding of education in both the K-12 and higher educational arenas, you would never know it.”
    Adriana, just because we fall short of our goals doesn’t mean that we should exacerbate the situation by promoting it through accepting millions of illiterate foreign poor.

  • Juan Carlos Rodríguez
    October 22, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    I think Mariana’s story is wonderful and wish her all the best. As for the DREAM Act, I would support it under the following two conditions. First, the qualifications for getting lawful permanent residency need to be stricter. For example, I think completion of (or graduating from) at least a four year undergraduate program should be required without exception. Mariana proves that this is possible. With such an accomplishment, I would more than support the granting of lawful residency to such individuals. We should strive to keep such immigrants here in the United States. As for my second requirement, I would not support the DREAM Act if it would allow immigrants unlawfully present to apply for federally subsidized financial aid to attend college. There is only a finite amount of such money available and should be reserved for citizens (like my children) and those immigrants lawfully present first.

  • Mariana
    October 22, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    Hola Juan Carlos,
    I would love to answer your concerns.
    1) The student has the option to either
    a) get a 2yr vocational degree
    b) complete at least 2 of a 4 year degree
    c) join the military for at least 2 years
    I definitely support that the student (b) should go ahead and complete their BA or BS. And I think they would.
    2) The DREAM Act does not offer any grants or scholarships. They only offer work study and federal loans. So these students are not getting anything free.

  • Horace
    October 22, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    The fudamental question is whether the welfare of the children of citizens will be advanced before that of the children of illegal aliens. After all, as I’ve said before, citizen children, even Hispanic American children, will be competing with illegal alien children for limited resources. For every illegal alien child, a Hispanic American or other ethnic group citizen child will be denied benefits. How many citizen children will be sacrificed to the agenda of illegal alien advocates? Educational funding is a zero sum game between illegal aliens and citizents. The fact that there are X number of dollars in the education pot. When we choose to give illegal aliens money from that pot, we take funds that would be used by citizens. While it would be nice to give the whole world a first class education, our country can only afford to take care of its own. Illegal immigrants owe their allegience to their homelands, and should always come second to citizens, even when it comes to education. Believe it or not, we have talented and needy citizens in this country. You’ll have to explain to me why the taxpayers money should be spent on foreigners at the expense of citizens.

  • Juan Carlos Rodríguez
    October 22, 2007 at 7:56 pm

    Mariana, thanks for your information. As I mentioned previously, though, I would only support giving residency to immigrant who completed a four year degree program. I think the military option is also great and would probably support an enlistment period of less than 2 years to get lawful permanent residency. As for the financing options, I understand that the DREAM Act itslef does not provide for grants or scholarships. I was specifically referring to federally funded (and/or subsidized) student loans. Inasmuch as the DREAM Act allows for aliens unlawfully present in the United States to receive such loans, then I would be against it for the reasons mentioned previously.
    Horace, the world is getting smaller and smaller and the competition for the limited number of spots at a public instution of higher education is already a global competition. While I agree that a government should be concerned with the wellbeing of its own citizens first, I think that can be accomplished in this regard by assuring that federal and state funds (either through grants, scholarships, or loans) are dispersed only to citizens and aliens lawfully present in the United States.
    Of course this means that aliens unlawfully present in the United States, under my version of the program, would have to fund a four year education on their own before they could benefit from a “DREAM Act”. Still, I’m not against in-state tuition (e.g. House Bill 540) for such aliens.

  • Horace
    October 22, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    “Still, I’m not against in-state tuition (e.g. House Bill 540) for such aliens.”
    Juan Carlos, you seem not to realize that the difference between in-state tuition and out-of-state tuition is a taxpayer subsidy. The main reason why all do not pay the same tuition is that the citizens of a state decide to use taxpayer funds to permit a lesser fee to be paid by their residents. The number of people permitted to receive this subsidy is necessarily limited by the willingness of resident taxpayer’s willingness to contribute to that fund through tax levies. There’s a limit to how much they’re willing to pay in taxes, so the magnitude of in-state tuition is governed by the generousity of the state. Taxpayers will either have to pay more taxes or raise in-state tuition to accommodate additional student illegal aliens.

  • Mariana
    October 22, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    Horace and Juan Carlos: both of you have raised a very valid points. I will try to answer them both.
    Please keep in mind that undocumented immigrants are also contributing to the economy and pay taxes like legal residents. So, in reality undocumented immigrants ARE indeed contributing to the educational pool funds. If we want to talk about justice and equality- then it is only fair that the children of undocumented immigrants would benefit from the money their parents are putting in.
    In addition, I wanted to share this excerpt from a recent research finding:
    “The ten states which, since 2001, have passed laws allowing undocumented students who graduate from in-state high schools to qualify for in-state college tuition have not experienced a large influx of new immigrant students that “displaces” native-born students or added financial burdens on their educational systems. In fact, these measures tend to increase school revenues by bringing in tuition from students who otherwise would not be in college.”
    http://www.ailf.org/ipc/infocus/ipc_infocus_07dream.shtml
    ALSO: I would love for you to check out the 2007 AB 540 report written by the University of California Office of the President and check for yourself that AB540 is benefiting MORE US Citizens (or documented) that undocumented students.
    http://www.ucop.edu/sas/sfs/uc.html#AB%20540

  • Frank
    October 22, 2007 at 10:06 pm

    With me it is more about the principle of it. Rewarding children of illegal aliens and their parents goes against the the rule of law. It makes a joke out of which we stand for as a nation. It makes a joke out of legal immigrants who followed our laws.

  • diana joe
    October 22, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    Legal immigrants that followed our laws?
    Like Christian us Colonus?
    And his mayflower? Or Your GOD frankly? Your GOD that is a he only?
    How can a man be so certain of his GOD that he cannot see know that his GOD is a HE?
    How can this same man refuse to be equally as open-hearted and opened-minded about the children of his Gods’ creation?
    Here is a biased narrow minded fool indeed.You are not in it for your gods creation FRank you are in it for you don’t drag your god into this because you might piss him off again.

  • diana joe
    October 22, 2007 at 11:49 pm

    Mariana No le des importancia a estos pobres infelices..son unos tarados que no tienen corazon.
    Sigue ADELANTE y si es presiso..con mucha precaucion y caudencia,y desde luego te felicito por tus triunfos…valla pues asi por la sagrada tierra-con esa presiosa educasion y utilisala en los lugares donde se nesesita muy en especial-los pueblos de la gente humilde-nunca te sientas menos que bendecida por nuestros antepasados nuestras finas e admirables historias indigenas!
    ADELANTE!

  • Frank
    October 23, 2007 at 9:06 am

    Diana, bring yourself up to when the U.S. became a country with immigration laws. There were no immigration laws prior to that.
    God made the ten commandments for us to follow. Humanity towards others still has to fall within those commandments. Humanity doesn’t trump those commandments.

  • Frank
    October 23, 2007 at 9:09 am

    I don’t know who your God or Gods are but mine is the one based on Christianity. God the father and his son Jesus Christ. You have every right to believe in some other God. I am basing my views on opinions on my own God.

  • diana joe
    October 23, 2007 at 11:07 am

    The CRISTIAN RIGHT are usually neither-therefore
    the core problem appears to be in that frank insists that his GOD is solely responsible for the belief systems of all AMERICANS!
    You see frank it isn’t solely about your god, and how you believe that he is a he,take for example- the story of Jesus Christ; the son, this story is indeed a very unique and powerfilled one.The only reason I would give any credit to the story of Jesus is because I am fascinated by all the magic
    ..got ya’ thinkin’ now huh!
    -sorcery it seems.. amazingly appears to fascinate most feeble-minded beings-heck some might even pay top dollar to acquire front row seating to watch the way things are made to disappear at the governmental level…and in and about the house painted white!
    I would love to debate with you about your Cristian faith,sir frank,but frankly I don’t believe that my personal views on how I should dare to perceive your God, and his supposed son would bring any kind of resolve to your views in particular- regarding immigrants, and or much less immigration reform. You say that God and the son are what tell us how to be,and how we should behave as law abiding people of these our un-united states? How then would you explain what the fifth commandment means?
    Honor thy Father ,and thy Mother?
    ‘cept of course if you are an immigrant’s child-huh master?
    You do not make sense with your pledge of allegiance to the commandments or to your god..especially when you are making seemingly desperate attempts to make us believe in your idealism.
    Part of the rule of law might be or is the separation of church and state.

  • Frank
    October 23, 2007 at 11:55 am

    Diana, I never said that my Christian beliefs encompass ALL Americans. Christianity however is the belief of most Americans.
    Separation of church and state? Where have I ever suggested otherwise?
    The rules of the Christian God do not conflict with the laws of this country, in fact they compliment each other. Both are based on protecting individuals from other individuals wanting to take what doesn’t belong to them just for starters.

  • diana joe
    October 23, 2007 at 12:25 pm

    In the greatest of all the occurances within these renewed old movements –
    is my gratitude for ladies such as Marisa Trevino,and now Mariana.
    Marisa, I commend you highly for having the expertise in your field to bring us into the light. Mariana, today you too have achieved what is sometimes cause for great argument-a sacred education! I include the fact that it is a sacred accomplishment because there are only very few humans left upon the Earth that fully understand the meaning of a spirit in a struggle. It is unfortunate thateven today we are forced to live in a linear world. And it is even more unfortunate that some of us are relegated to oppression ,and must learn to endure at an all alarming rationale ,and therefore forced to overcome obstacles at the level of monumental political disgrace. I am so saddened by certain American fellows that boast upon our constitution,and on the same token they are ready to bring their human counterparts to their knees repeatedly, if they so much as spaek a different tongue or dialect. Some of these fellows obviously are not blessed with an education founded on a struggle. It is perhaps here, that they have learned to disguise themselves behind the FLAG of these united states? It is perhaps here Marisa and Mariana that I stand to applaude you and to admire you for surviving all the crimes against your being!
    Kick-ass ladies keep kickin’ ass!

  • David O.
    October 23, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Frank :
    Diana, I never said that my Christian beliefs encompass ALL Americans. Christianity however is the belief of most Americans.
    Separation of church and state? Where have I ever suggested otherwise?
    The rules of the Christian God do not conflict with the laws of this country, in fact they compliment each other. Both are based on protecting individuals from other individuals wanting to take what doesn’t belong to them just for starters.
    Now if only the government would do the same we might be getting somewhere.

  • Horace
    October 23, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    Aside from being beautiful, Mariana is polite, a plus when having a civilized discussion. Diana Joe, David O, Deport Lou Dobbs and others in this blog could learn something from her.
    Although we have differences, Mariana, I am happy for you in your new immigration status and wish you well.

  • David O.
    October 23, 2007 at 6:42 pm

    “Aside from being beautiful, Mariana is polite, a plus when having a civilized discussion. Diana Joe, David O, Deport Lou Dobbs and others in this blog could learn something from her.”
    As well as you Horace. Please don’t think that you have always been polite and understanding.
    Good for you Mariana.

  • Mariana
    October 23, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    Well, I wanted to thank everyone that has left positive and encouraging comments. The emotional support I’ve received through my journey has been influential to my sucess.
    In addition, thank you to those that don’t support me. Although, your words feel like a needle in my heart- once the wound heals, I am a stronger being.
    It is my hope that through this blog I’ve been able to dispel some myths and stereotypes you might have had about undocumented immigrants.
    Undocumented immigrants are not just Jose or Maria that wake up at 430am to pick the fruit- there is diversity within this group. And it is for this group that I will continue to fight for.
    Best to all,
    Mariana

  • Frank
    October 24, 2007 at 8:31 am

    Mariana, I agree with Horace you are a polite individual and I commend you for that. However, I cannot commend your parents for violating our immigration laws and you benefiting from it.
    If the Dream Act passes and you eventually become a citizen of this country, will you stand up for the rule of law and speak out against illegal immigration and only encourage immigrants to come here legally? Will your loyalty to this country trump your loyalty to your ethnic group or will your loyalties be divided?

  • Mother Laura
    October 24, 2007 at 9:17 am

    Mariana–Congratulations! You are amazing and I rejoice that you have this well-deserved opportunity. And pray that the struggles of being a Latina in a racist society and academic environment just, as you say, make you stronger.
    Marisa–thank you for introducing us to this important guest voz and for your own excellent comments.
    Frank–Jesus consistently spoke up for the poor, the foreigner, the oppressed and social outcasts, and challenged those of privilege who dissed them. And everything about aliens in the Hebrew Bible says they are to be welcomed, treated fairly, not oppressed, etc., reminding the Jewish people that they should be just to immigrants because they were immigrants in Egypt. The ancestors of Jesus slaved for Pharoah as do the hardworking people who pick our vegetables and clean our buildings, who are helping bail out social security by paying in millions of dollars they will never get back. Check out Deuteronomy 24:17 and 27:19 for a start.

  • Frank
    October 24, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    Mother Laura, knowing what I know about God’s teachings he would not condone breaking our laws. If we want to reach out to the poor, that is one thing but for the poor to just take without asking without it being offered to them, is just plain wrong.
    We already take in many legal immigrants, we cannot take in the whole world’s poor. I think that God would understand that.
    Your statement that we live in a racist society (what a thing to say about the U.S. in general), is false and hurtfull. Every society has its racists but to generalize as if the U.S. is totally racist as a country, is unfair.
    Being opposed to illegal immigration is not based on racism for most Americans but unfortunately the pro-illegals make it a racist issue.
    It is only corrupt businesses that asked illegals to pick our fruits and vegetables and for their own profit. There is no nobility in that.
    The SS that some pay in, I would consider bounty for using fake documents to work and to help pay their social costs that are being passed on to the taxpayer. I don’t want our SS staying afloat by illegal actions. It doesn’t work that way anyway.

  • Mariana
    October 24, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Frank: I will not benefit from the DREAM Act because I am a legal permanent resident now. In five years I will be able to become a citizen (or in two if I marry a US citizen). The DREAM Act will benefit only undocumented youth; provide a path to legal permanent status, then citizenship.
    When I stated that I want to work with undocumented immigrants I am not implying that I support illegal immigration. I definitely do not support it. BUT I do think that it’s important to understand why illegal immigration exists.
    I think it is imperative to view it in a holistic manner, for example understanding the historical relationship the US has had with Latin American countries.
    Fact is that the economies of many Latin American countries have been suffering and still are. But why? [Someone can say because they put bad leaders in power. But why?] And most importantly why should the U.S. care? You would be surprised (or not) in the impact the U.S. has had on the economy of Latin American. Keep in mind that many history books are written by victors, so are we really getting the full picture?
    I am from Guatemala which suffered a civil war from 1960-1996, who was funding this war? The repercussions of this war led many Guatemalans to migrate, including my mother, father and myself. If we could have afforded legal means I am sure we would’ve taken them. But, it’s not so easy. Sometimes only the affluent are given permission a visa. The need to survive leads many to risk their lives and cross borders.
    Crossing the border has been romanticized—but it’s not easy and many lose their lives. But people are willing to risk their lives to have an opportunity to help those that stayed back home.

  • Frank
    October 25, 2007 at 8:31 am

    Mariana, here is where you go wrong in your thinking. You are lumping the regular, tax paying, law abiding U.S. citizen in with the sins of our government. Given a choice most of us would not have supported NAFTA, CAFTA and whole lot of other idiotic things that our govenment has done.
    We vote in politicians who stab us in the back after they are in office. Many things we are not even allowed to vote on and have no control over.
    We are fed up with our government and we are tired of being blamed for what they do or having people like you tell us that the invasion is justified because of the idiots in our government, with no consideration as to how your regular American feels.
    We, the regular law abiding citizenry are going to take our country back and those illegals are going down with their enablers who are our government and corrupt businesses. They are all guilty. One doesn’t get a pass by making excuses for violating our immigration laws either. All three are guilty and will be held accountable.

  • diana joe
    October 25, 2007 at 10:33 pm

    “Given a choice most of us would not have supported NAFTA, CAFTA and whole lot of other idiotic things that our govenment has done.”
    This is why you should humble yourself already franko-
    ay~Mariana you will be damned if you dare, and damned if you dare to dare-this guy is incessant. He is obsessed and angry-and he needs the energy that he feels SUPERIOR with by bashing everything that doesn’t sound American look American and smell Amirikkkan-to his level and standard-don’t slip on him he’s slimey-leave im’ to the Ollin (nahuatl) he’s already dead in the spirit way.
    You are too beautiful and now super prepared to make a differnce in these UNITED STATEs-
    nothing you can say will ever give you clearance in there linear narrow minds-HOLISTIC to the likes of Franko is like BALISTIC instead.
    It was a trick question when they challenged you to answer on the allegiance question-it is a sad day in hell for all of us,and they are fueling all their empty souls with our energy…thank goodness there’s so many of us!
    I’m laughing all the way to the pentagon…ug-i meant the pyramids!

  • Frank
    October 26, 2007 at 7:48 am

    Diana, as usual you can’t dispute the truth of my remarks so instead you slip back into your double speak and personal insults.
    Must make you proud. Why not try to debate civilly and explain why you think that ANYONE should be able to circumvent U.S. law without for a change resorting to the “poor me, I am a brown skinned victim” mentality.

  • Mariana
    October 26, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    Frank:
    Sorry it has taken me awhile to get back to you. I am in the middle of midterms and it was difficult to reply.
    First, I am not here to convert you into an undocumented immigrant advocate. That is a personal decision that I have no control over. My goal in all of this, is to give you (and everyone that reads this) a chance to interact at first hand with someone that knows the struggle of being undocumented.
    Media (our main channel of communication) constantly bombards us with anti-immigrant ideologies and we rarely get to hear the other side. I hope my voice has shed some light onto that hidden side.
    Second, I think we share the same pattern of thinking. You mentioned that tax-paying law abiding US citizens shouldn’t be blamed for the “sins of the government.”
    In a VERY VERY similar thought pattern—you should then agree that, immigrant children following the orders of their parents shouldn’t be “blamed for the ‘sins of their parents’” just like you believe that taxpaying law abiding US citizens shouldn’t be blamed for the actions of others.
    Immigrant children and taxpaying law abiding US citizens are “the victims in these cases” and suffer the consequence and repercussions of the actions done by those with or in power (parents or government).
    The DREAM Act helps some immigrant children that were just following the orders of their parents. Also, it does not reward illegal behavior; it rewards merit (going to college or joining the army; they must complete this before a green card is issued). Education breaks the cycle of poverty. By assisting every child regardless of race, class, and immigration status with an opportunity to attend institutions of higher learning—we all win.
    Again, I am not here to try to convert you or argue. I’ve acknowledged that my role as an educated person is to help others make informed decisions.
    Best to you and your loved ones.

  • Frank
    October 27, 2007 at 8:29 am

    Mariana, I appreciate your civility and politeness. There are a few in here that could learn from you.
    I understand that you and those like you didn’t have a choice but to come here with your parents. However, as an American I have to support the rule of law and do not advocate rewarding anyone for not respecting our laws or someone benefiting from that in a remote way either.
    As I said, perhaps we should take your case and all others in the same boat as you and judge them individually. From what I understand with the Dream Act it was too general and too much open for fraud. I disagree that we should be educating everybody regardless of immigration status. That is their homeland country’s responsiblity, not ours. That is why our schools are so crowded and part of the reason our taxes are so high. It isn’t fair to the American citizen.
    I would be willing to go to support you if you agree to this. 1. Those who would benefit from the Dream Act would not be allowed to bring all kinds of family into this country once they gain citizenship. 2. That you speak out against illegal immigration and support secure borders.

  • Liquidmicro
    October 28, 2007 at 9:43 pm

    “Education breaks the cycle of poverty.”
    I think everybody agrees with this statement.
    “By assisting every child regardless of race, class, and immigration status with an opportunity to attend institutions of higher learning—we all win.”
    Why should every child be assisted in going to college? when everybody, no matter status, has the opportunity to go to college. College is not a RIGHT, it is privilege to gain entry to the highest levels of education, though it does not have to grant equal admission. In other words, they can’t deny you from attending college, but they also aren’t required to make it available for free, either.
    Some colleges are owned and operated, privately, or by the state, why then should a private education be cheap? while the state education is subsidized by tax payers making the education less expensive?

  • Frank
    October 29, 2007 at 8:16 am

    I would like to make a point about Mariana’s mother bringing her here illegally when she was a child and the sympathizers in here stating that Mariana should’t be blamed for that and should be able to stay here even though she wasn’t born here.
    However, these same sympathizers, especially the reconquista type claim that we today should be held accountable for our European ancestors coming over here and claiming native indian land and are telling us to go back to Europe even though we were born here. Why the double standard? Why aren’t they telling Mariana to go back to her ancestor’s homeland?

  • Love2Wonder
    November 4, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    Author: Emile Schepers
    People’s Weekly World Newspaper, 09/20/07
    BOOK REVIEW
    The American public is being subjected to a bombardment of slander and lies about our immigrant neighbors. TV personalities like Lou Dobbs and Bill O’Reilly, as well as radio talk show hosts, right-wing newspapers and Internet web sites and blogs, vie with each other to make up the most terrifying stories about crazed immigrants bringing crime, disease, poverty and terrorism.
    It is hard to keep up with such a bombardment. So activists and the general public will be glad to hear that there are two new book-length resources to refute the anti-immigrant slander campaign. “The Politics of Immigration: Questions and Answers,” by Jane Guskin and David L. Wilson, and “‘They Take Our Jobs’ and 20 Other Myths About Immigration,” by Aviva Chomsky, are essential reading.
    The two books have a similar approach — enumerating anti-immigrant lies and then refuting them with solid factual information — but they are different enough that it is worth reading them both.
    Guskin and Wilson give a brief but complete and well-researched orientation to the issue of immigration as it affects U.S. workers and the general public.
    They start by outlining the roots of current mass immigration in imperialism and capitalist globalization, with a special focus on Mexico, where NAFTA and other neoliberal trade and credit agreements have driven 1.5 million farm families off the land. They then give us an outline of immigration law, stressing those points which are most often misrepresented by the anti-immigrant lobby. For example, they take on the widespread myth of the “anchor babies.”
    According to right- wing commentators, an immigrant will come here (undocumented) to have a baby, knowing that under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution the child will be a citizen, and then the parents will be able to get legal status or citizenship through the child. In fact, this does not work. A child cannot sponsor his or her own parents for a green card. Every year, thousands of parents of U.S. citizen children are deported either for being undocumented (like Elvira Arellano) or for some other reason.
    Another interesting fact of which most people are totally unaware is that under a 1990 law, it became possible for very wealthy people in other countries to essentially buy legal resident visas by investing at least $1 million into a U.S. business and creating at least 10 jobs for U.S. citizens.
    Ten thousand such visas are available every year, twice as many as the visas given for unskilled laborers in 2005. (In 1985 there was a controversy when the Reagan administration “expedited” the U.S. citizenship of Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch, an action which made possible the Fox TV empire.) Yet there is no practical way in which most of the millions of Mexicans left destitute in the wake of NAFTA can get a visa.
    Guskin and Wilson then tackle other myths about documented and undocumented immigrants, from taxes to overburdened schools, disease, language, crime and terrorism.
    Aviva Chomsky’s book does some of the same myth-busting work, but goes into some more specific detail on important issues such as the relationship of immigration law and policy to race relations.
    Readers will not be surprised to hear that an underlying principle of U.S. immigration policy for most of our history has been to keep the United States “white.” What may surprise some is that until World War I, white European immigrants could simply decide to come here and do it. The only impediment (and the function of places like Ellis Island) was that the government tried to weed out the sick and criminals. And the Border Patrol on the U.S./Mexico frontier only came into being in 1924. Before that, lots of people just came on over.
    Chomsky is particularly helpful on a brief summary and comparison of the situation of Puerto Ricans and Filipinos. These two island nations share the characteristic of having the largest proportion of their citizens living and working in the United States at any one time (far more, proportionally, than Mexico). Chomsky points out the negative effect of the constant “brain drain” of Filipina nurses on Filipino society.
    Both books take a forthright position in favor of legalization with full rights for the undocumented (not guest worker schemes), but they both also emphasize that we must fight against the U.S. government and corporate policies that so disrupt the poorer countries’ development as to force millions to uproot themselves and emigrate merely to survive and support their families.

  • damian
    November 29, 2007 at 7:20 pm

    I am proud to call Mariana my friend. May you be blessed with finding what you seek in Guate!
    damián

  • gilbert zisseh
    December 11, 2007 at 10:15 am

    As the going gets tough, the tough gets going.I just completed high school and has the opportunity to enter the university.I want to read journalism .
    Again ,am a bilingual in French and English.As I’m talking to you now,my parents don’t have the capacity to help me further my education.I’m therefore pleading for sponsorship or scholarship that will help me further my education at the tertiary level. I can’t afford to see my dream shattered .
    Please help me.I don’t want to loose my dream.
    Thank you.

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