Dreamer Story 5

Los Reyes is a town in the state of Michoacán, Mexico and apart from it being my place of birth, I could not speak much more about it. My journey to being a student here at Marquette involves my mother’s courageous decision to leave the state of Michoacán permanently and move to the U.S. in search of a safer home with better educational opportunities. I arrived in the city of Chicago when I was only 5 months old. Growing up I always viewed my birthplace as Chicago, but as I grew older, I learned that I was a Mexican immigrant. My full identity as an undocumented immigrant wasn’t revealed to me until I was 16 years old and I took my drivers exam. Revealing my unique form of identification unlocked the door to a new form of discrimination for me. The challenges of being raised by a single mother in a low-income household as a person of color were now joined by this new struggle that further demoted my standing in society. The legal complications that this identity carried were only secondary to the emotional distress that comes with being undocumented. 

Throughout much of my childhood, I experienced the secondhand anxiety that my undocumented family members experienced anytime they’d leave the house. I experienced firsthand the pain of having my father forced out of my life by an immigrant official when I was only 10 years old. Despite living through this, I felt nowhere near prepared to accept the news that I, too, would fear being removed from the only place I have ever called home. Accepting this truth has been difficult, but it has also empowered my voice.

Privilege is often assumed to belong to those with positions in power; however, my experiences have granted me epistemic privilege. A form of privilege that is not granted with power but is lived. My unique point of view is as invisible as my immigration status is. I bring life to these identities the moment I take the stand for the marginalized groups that have been silenced.

As a Dreamer on this campus, I don’t seek compassion, I seek justice. Justice for the students that, like myself, are continually faced with inconsistent support and struggle to find their place in society and this school.  I not only want to challenge the common perceptions of Dreamers in this country with my personal story, but I want to highlight our resilience. I want the world to know we refuse to let our struggles be in vain.  We are strong, unapologetic, and here to stay.

 - A DREAMer

To read more DREAMers' stories click the links below: