My name is Emma and I.M. Beyond Borders. Learn about the great opportunities DACA has given me, such as my recent trip to Mexico City on a journey towards discovering my bi-nationality and ultimately becoming “de aquí Y de allá”. Learn how I have found my place in a classroom as a first-generation college student navigating spaces that were not meant for me. I have come to appreciate the phrase “Si, se puede"
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At an alumni event last week, I shared with fellow Irma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School graduates the life-changing experience I had in the summer of 2016. I shared how for five weeks, I lived and studied in Mexico City, Mexico, and how, for one brief, happy and heartbreaking weekend, I was able to return to my place of birth.
I was prompted to share this experience because we were all sharing ways in which we’ve dealt with bias and discrimination at our respective college campuses. I spoke of the identity that solidified as a result of my participation in the DACA Cultural Exchange Program. Of how before this experience, I’d felt a bit lost in regards to which country I belonged to, which led to an uncertainty in going forward as a person, as a student, (and in the future) as a professional. After that experience, I was able to ease some of the anxiety that plagues my interactions at an institution where many people don’t know what “undocumented” means, and not to mention what “DACA” or “Advance Parole” means. Now, I am more confident in where I come from and the direction that I want my life to take...
My name is Giovanni and I.M. Beyond Borders.
Get behind the scenes at how, with numerous legal, economic, and emotional barriers, I was able to see my mother and country after 12 years. Among the few, I met with the US Ambassador to Mexico, USCIS Director, former Mexico Secretary of Foreign Affairs, and the Mexican President to be a voice for my community. If if you find this inspiring, share my DACAmented story to show "si, se puede."
A week or so ago, in the company of great friends, a few miles from the US-Mexico border, I said farewell to the best year of my life—2016. Together we welcomed 2017 cheerfully singing and dancing to classic English and Spanish tunes. We enjoyed foods from both sides of the border as we laugh at our English, Spanish, and even Spanglish jokes. Right at midnight, we yelled to the top of our lungs a hopeful “Happy New Year” and “Feliz Año Nuevo!” wishing each other the best for the upcoming year. In the midst of the entire celebration, you could hear the fireworks on both sides of the border blending together to create a single celebration. As for me, I stood with my DACA documents in my hand and so close to a border that could potentially separate me from my dreams.
January for me has always been a month of reflection. I firmly believe that you realize your advancements when you reflect back. I arrived in this country on January 6, 2004. For the first time in twelve years, I look at the year ahead of me just like I did on the day of my arrival— with uncertainty, a bit of fear, and a lot of determination. Something I learned in 2016 was to be proud of my immigrant story. The truth is that it isn’t too different from the millions of people who left their home in search of a better future. I have faced similar challenges like immigrants that arrive in a new country and fight the uphill battle towards integration and success. However, despite all these challenges, I have never forgotten my childhood dreams of one day obtaining a college degree.
Navigating the education system as an undocumented immigrant has always been a challenge. Sometimes, it seemed like an unreachable dream... (Read More below)