Undocumented Voices: What About my Mother?

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My story is not too different from the rest of the DREAMers out there. Like many, I migrated when I was a toddler – five years old to be precise. I was born in Mexico City, but my family is from Morelos, Oaxaca. My mother migrated to the U.S. first, with a visa, and I joined a year later, but this time around, my migration was undocumented. My mother and I were escaping an uncertain and abusive life. My mother had just lost one child, and I, one sister, after my father arrived home heavily intoxicated and began abusing my mother, which resulted in us three standing in a cemetery saying goodbye to my newborn sister, Michelle.


I have lived in the U.S. since then, and I’m now 19. While my life has been a struggle, I have had the privilege of attending college thanks to my background in community outreach and my academics. However, going to college is not easy. I have killed myself working way over 40 hours a week, sevem days a week to be able to attend the college I currently go to. I’ve gone to the extent of just getting on Craigslist everyday to do random chores for people all over my state, for barely any money at all. At one point, I was embarrassed, but this is the reality of my situation and I have to keep going.


President Obama passed an executive order that would allow undocumented students that migrated to the U.S. before the age of 16 attend higher education, join the military, and get a working permit. I qualify for this executive action, but I’m not sure how I feel. It’s great that I will be able to get a working permit, but what about my mother? What about the woman who endured years of torture, work exploitation, and modern day slavery? The sacrifices she has made do not coincide with the situation our family is in right now. For now though, I’m glad that I will be able to help my mother by working.


If I get my work permit, I will be able to be relatively ‘normal’ like my counterpart classmates– I can get a work-study job and potentially stop killing myself at the restaurant, and I may not have to resort to cleaning peoples bathrooms, or their backyards for little revenue. I may be able to even get a license, which will allow my mother to rest knowing that I have some type of U.S. ID, and maybe I won’t have to go through all the prejudice, racism, and sexism that she went through.


I just hope that all these “maybes” turn into a reality. Nevertheless, I will continue to fight because sometimes, that’s all one can do.



This essay was republished from OwntheDreamCT, a blog where undocumented immigrants write about their experiences in the United States.


OwntheDreamCT was created by Connecticut Students for a Dream, a statewide organization of DREAMers and allies that seeks to empower undocumented students and their families by advocating for their rights and raising awareness about the issues they face.

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