Amplifying the Narratives of Utah's Undocumented Community to highlight the barriers, injustices, experiences, and overall success of our community. Stay tuned for new stories!
My name is Estefania. I was born in Toluca, Mexico but came to Salt Lake City, Utah in elementary school. I had a normal life, a very blessed life. For many reasons, my family decided to return to Mexico. It was such a difficult feeling to explain, on the one hand, I was excited to return to my country, but on the other hand, I was nervous. Not only because my parents were divorcing, but also because of not knowing if one day I would return to my "normal" life. It was then that I realized that my life was not like others, I did not have the famous social security card and the possibilities that seemed normal to others were not normal for me, nor for my family.
The only thing I wanted was to fulfill my dreams but I did not imagine that it would be so difficult. Shortly before returning to Utah, DACA had been approved. DACA is a work permit for a group of young people who grew up in the USA. But my application was denied, the reason was because I had left the country, (although I had spent almost my entire life here) I tried to argue that it was a family decision and as a child, I could not go against my parent's will, but the application was denied.
I graduated from high school with dreams of pursuing my studies, but no one told me that not only to work do you need social security but also to study. Of course, there are scholarships for undocumented immigrants, but unfortunately they are few apart from the fact that they do not give you a decent amount to pay for your studies. They give you a minimum portion and the rest you have to see how you can collect it. But I didn't let that discourage me. I was working two jobs, while trying to finish my studies. Changing careers, because when choosing one, I looked at the resume and realized that the total amount to pay was enormous, so I had to look at another option. But as my grandmother used to say, “there will be a place where they say no, but there will be another place where they say yes”. I never got discouraged, in fact the rejection made me more persistent to find some way to succeed.
Thanks to God, and the doors that He has opened for me, I have found the ways to have a “normal” life. A job, a home, a car, friendships, precious experiences. But the sad reality is that my life is still “unstable”. My life is still insecure, but I will not give up the fight, in fact I will fight more, for my rights and for the rights of others. For those families who fear being separated, for those young people who fear losing their dreams, for those parents who fear losing what they have earned. My vision is to see justice without borders.
My name is Teresa, I am 55 years old and I am a Promotora. I have participated in the Covid-19 efforts, providing resources and connecting the community during this pandemic in which we have been disproportionately affected in many ways. I emigrated 20 years ago to the state of Utah with my family, looking like many others for a better opportunity for my family.
I am a Preschool Teacher, in the National School of Preschool Teachers. Like many Latinos, I came to this country leaving a political and social system in which we cannot develop as professionals and as human beings, with basic aspects such as security. My country is highly unsafe for a woman, professional and mother. I decided to move to the United States with my husband
and children for a better life and better opportunities for our children, who are our main motivation in life.
Upon arriving in the United States, it was impossible to get a job in the profession that I love so much, due to my immigration status and the additional requirement of having to renew my studies. English also becomes a bit complicated, as we focus on the work environment working long hours and heavy work, caring nothing more than well-being, and performing with all the best attitude. My family was affected by immigration policies and suffered a separation since 2012. This is one of the main causes for which I fight for a change so that other families do not have to go through these painful situations, and I know that the best way is to educate, inform and empower ourselves as a community and ask for comprehensive and fair immigration reform. That is why I can say that it is my passion to be a promotora, because I like to connect with my community since I know the difficulties of being an immigrant in this country, I dream of justice and social equity, and I know that it can be achieved.
I am a person who would like to change many things but I know that some of them I cannot, others I have to fight for them. My story is of someone who lives in a mixed-status, with relatives with DACA and undocumented, but in the face of all these labels, we are humans wanting to be free and eager to be united as families.
When migrating to this country it was a traumatic experience at the beginning because when I got here it was through the desert for exactly 3 days and I almost died, but there was something that drove me to see my family and my mother in particular, it was so strong. that desire that I could also achieve with the help of God.
When I got here I did not know what I would face in the first place, the language I am still learning, the very different culture, the food among other things was very frustrating for me. I cried but it was also the illusion of having good opportunities for me and my family.
Working in a restaurant without knowing any English cleaning tables and serving people was something that helped me to learn new things. After a while I married a citizen but when I entered without a visa it prevented me from fixing my residence quickly, I am still in a very long process, my husband is partially deaf, sometimes he helped him with translating or telling him things that he does not listen to in medical matters or some other situation I have a son with a disability, it is also difficult to think that if I can't fix my residence situation or if the immigration reform passes, it will be very sad, desperate, complicated for my family since one of them takes medication and therapy to be well in his life.
My husband works, the one in charge of everything is me, in addition to 2 more children that I have.It is important to have an immigration reform so that our families remain united, strong among other situations that we go through is that although our children are citizens, many times they are treated as second-class citizens for having parents or an undocumented father, because of their skin color. Immigration reform would give us the assurance that our children have their parents with them, to care for the well-being of the family, to come out of the shadows and live in a dignified way, safely without fear that one day I will not see my children.