I was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco. I came to the United States when I was about 2 years old in 1995. I came here because my parents wanted to provide my brothers and I with a chance for a better life.
My father was already in the US at the time, but my mom and two brothers lived in Mexico. He worked here and sent us money back home. Eventually, he made arrangements for us to become permanent residents. My mom brought us all over to the US as soon as she could.
I was only about 2 at the time, so I didn’t have a reason per se. However, my family came over here because there was work here and better schools. I adjusted pretty well since I was so young. It was a lot more difficult for my mom than anyone else because she had to leave her entire family behind. My father’s mom and siblings came over here too so he seemed to be fine. The biggest hurdle for us was the language barrier. My oldest brother had to translate letters and important documents for my parents because he was the first one to learn English in school.
Part of living as an immigrant is that you never have the guarantee of keeping your family together. Even being here legally, getting in legal problems can result in deportation. My father was an alcoholic and constantly struggled with trying to get sober. When you’re an immigrant, there’s not a lot of help you can get. He got arrested for driving while drunk more than once and eventually had his resident status revoked. Things got hard for my family once he was deported, but adversity only brought us closer together. My two brothers had to work while still in high school in order to support the family.
I was fortunate to have my family provide the support they did. Even when I was old enough to work, my brothers still supported me and encouraged to focus on school rather than help them pay bills. Because of that I was able to be the first in my family to attend a University. I am now a Computer Science major and only a semester away from graduation.
I just recently obtained citizenship. It was not particularly a difficult process since there was so much information available online. As for the interview part, many of the questions I was required to study were things learned in history class in elementary and high school. They give applicants a booklet with all the questions they are required to study for free. The booklet even comes with a CD that contains the audio version of the questions. There are also flash cards available online for studying. So that part wasn’t difficult at all for me.
A minor challenge was that you don’t get a say in when you set up your appointments. After sending the required fee, forms and documents, you get a letter telling you that you have to be at a certain place at a certain time. You have an option to reschedule, but you still won’t get to pick the day or time. As a student, I work and go to school so keeping these appointments meant having to miss class. I can imagine others who work full time or don’t have a reliable form of transportation would have a hard time with this part of the process.