Talking to my parents about this brings pain to them. They blame themselves for the decision they took back in 1998. I was 9 years old, and they decided to bring me to the United States of America, the land of the free, opportunity and under its Constitution everyone is created equal.
I am not free. My opportunities have been taken away. I was not created equal simply because I do not have a 9-digit number that allows me to be human; I am classiﬁed as an “alien” not just an alien, but an illegal alien. I will not refer to myself as an alien, I am American; an American that loves the red, white and blue. I am an American that would die for this country, yet I am not allowed to do so.
My parents have taught me my native language along with the culture, yet I ﬁnd myself being corrected over and over again because I said it wrong or picked the wrong word. I question if my academic success will ever be good enough. I question if my hard work and dedication will ever pay off. I question what citizenship feels like. What does citizenship feel like?
I am angry at the fact that some of my friends and relatives don’t vote, they take that right for granted. I am angry that I cannot do a simple drug test because my identiﬁcation card is not good enough. I am angry that I cannot drive, and I refuse to drive without a driver’s license. I am angry that I have better spelling and grammar than many of my natural born citizens. I am angry that they come to me to correct their papers. I am angry that I am angry at them because I love them.
I am angry that many people think it is easy to get a visa or “citizenship card”… there is no such thing as a “citizenship card.” I am angry that the same people tell me to just get a social security number. I am angry that my father HAS a social security number, yet he is an “illegal alien” like me. I am angry that my father cannot get his retirement money because of his status in this country. I am angry because we don’t know where his retirement money will go, 38 years of his hard work. I am angry because people assume we do not pay taxes. Yes we do, my mother and I both have ITNs, Individual Taxpayer Numbers. I am angry that my family did not qualify for President’s Obama stimulus checks; we got a letter stating that one or two of the numbers ﬁlling taxes are not valid social security numbers.
I am angry because I cannot get a credit card or loans; I know I would have a great credit score. I am angry that one of my options to legalize my status is by marriage. I refuse to think or make my marriage a contract of interest rather than a life commitment with a special someone. I am angry that I cannot travel, even within the United States because I run the risk of being detained and deportation. I am tired of always being scared, I should not be scared in the land of freedom where everyone is created equal.
I am angry that people see me and tell me I smell like tacos; I do not smell like tacos I smell like my shampoo. It is embarrassing to be told, “oh sorry, I have never seen this type of ID before, let me check with my manager to see if we can accept it” when getting a drink at a restaurant or bar. I rather not drink, my matricula says what I am. I am angry that I see so many natural born citizens wasting their lives on drugs, gangs, and not doing anything with their lives. I wish they could just give me their 9-digits.
I am angry that at 22 years of age I cannot be as successful as many of my friends. I am angry that I cannot ﬁnish my undergrad in Music Education. I am angry that I only have 3 semesters left, but because I cannot apply for ﬁnancial aid, I am not allowed to go back to school. I am angry that my dream school made me less because I do not have a 9-digit number. I am angry that most of my friends are now teachers, while I sit at home with an unﬁnished degree. I am happy their dreams became a reality. I feel like a failure. I am ashamed to even be around them; I feel like I do not belong in their world of college graduates. I am not part of their society any more. I am angry that I get frustrated and cry over this, the crying is becoming a daily habit.
I am frustrated because I know I am a great asset to this country, yet I am not allowed to play my role. I am tired of politicians playing around with my future. I am tired of their demagoguery.
I will keep DREAMing, till the end.