I am tired of the nastiness that immigrants experience due to your lack of human decency.
I’m so sick of the ‘no tax’ thought… People don’t come here undocumented and immediately get covered with a golden vail that says ‘you don’t have to pay taxes’. If she works, she’s paying taxes; if she drives, shes paying taxes; if she shops, she pays taxes….
I remember being asked more than once how it felt to not pay taxes… How I felt being ‘illegal’ (without first, of course, knowing whether I was undocumented or not).
No one ever asks us, those of us who came here as kids (whether via visas or not), if we wanted to come here; if we wanted to uproot our lives and dreams to come here to be looked at as a second class human being. I didn’t. I was 13 years old and blissfully unaware that I would soon call the US home. I lived a pretty comfortable life in Mexico. I attended private school, my mother never had to work, my father worked 2 weeks per month, and I was happy. I was pretty privileged in my home country (not to say that I don’t also get to enjoy some privileges here). Do you honestly think I wanted to come here? To enter into a culture I had no clue about? We moved here because my parents thought we’d have better opportunities. Did we? Perhaps some, but they certainly came at a very high cost- financially, emotionally, and certainly mentally.
When we first moved here, we lived with family members while we saved money… This was devastating to a newly teen girl who had always had space, privacy, and never had to share anything (huge, rude awakening). Then I watched my father, a man who had always been respected in a company he had worked in for 20 years, work two jobs; one which he was a dishwasher at a local southern restaurant. Can you believe my heartache? My daddy. A man I had looked at as a hero for so long, being another ‘mexican’ in the kitchen… Yeah, I certainly got knocked down a few notches. Still think I wanted to come here? My mother? She began to work at a local factory, my mother, who had never worked, was always there for my homework, dinner, to pick me up from school and take me to dance recitals, was suddenly gone.
In the meantime, my first day of school in Houston, I witnessed the most horrific fight I’ve seen to date, and it was on a school bus. I got off the bus, covered in blood from a classmate’s face… I didn’t want to return to school. Thankfully I made it. In high school, yet in another city, I was one of a handful of Hispanic students and did everything I could to learn to communicate well, quickly. All while being a curiosity and being asked how hard it was to cross the border. I didnt really understand the question, as we had driven over the bridge in my aunts truck. Now I know what they meant.
22 years later, although I feel foolish for complaining about what in reality was a pretty easy transition, I still sometimes wish my now divorced parents would have opted to stay home. I wonder what my life would have been like as I see friends who are doctors and lawyers and architects… They didn’t come here. Here where we aren’t wanted, where because of my lack of English knowledge at the time, I didn’t immediately attend college. I had no idea that college was even an option. I was the daughter of a single, Hispanic mother who had too much on her plate, it was certainly easier to move-in with a boyfriend (who I eventually married and remain married to, 17 years now). That same husband told me the other day that I was ‘crazy’, that people didn’t see me as I saw myself… He was wrong, of course, and after reading comments in an article much like this one, he apologized. He realized then, that when people look at me, they-and you know to whom I refer- think of me as lesser; as a burden on their economy, without even knowing that I probably know more about this beautiful country and it’s history, than they do, that I have worked legally since I was 16, that I have tried my hardest to fit in, in a place in which recently I’ve been feeling more like an outsider than I have my whole time here, in a place where right now it doesn’t matter how well I speak, or understand. I am unwanted! And that, breaks my heart, not for my privileged self who does speak the language, who isn’t afraid to speak up; but it breaks my heart for those who can’t, For those who came here without being asked, for those who like my parents thought they were making the best decisions for their families. That’s who I’m heart broken for, and cry.