Laura B

Interviewee

Anne Preston

Interviewer

June 4, 2019

Mexico City, Mexico

How the US changed her

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*To hear more about Laura listen to the playlist above

Anne: Could you tell us the circumstances of your coming to U.S.? Why you came, why your parents might have brought you, how old you were, your first impressions?

Laura: Okay. When I went to the U.S., I was 12 years old approximately. I'm right now 26 years old. I used to live on Iguala Guerrero, and if you know, Guerrero is one of the poorest states in Mexico.

Laura: So we were really struggling with a lot of payments. Sometimes we didn't have anything to eat. We ate tacos, and that was all we ate in a whole day. So the education was pretty bad. Sometimes we went to school or sometimes we didn't because, well, we didn't have money to go to the school.

Laura: My mom was getting paid well, a really low wage. She was getting paid about 700 pesos per week. That's about ... I'm not sure. Is that $35 per week]? We were struggling a lot. When we went to the US, we're trying to look for better living, having to eat something. I don't know. Like, a lifestyle, a proper lifestyle.

Anne: Do you remember the crossing?

Laura: Yeah, I do remember it. Well, I'm afraid of mice. So, when we crossed the border, it was actually really awkward for me because we went into a tunnel. It was really dark, though.

Laura: So, when we went through the tunnel, I remember it was pretty dark. We have a lot of mice on our feet and snakes. Oh my god, even if you have the eyes open you cannot see anything because everything was dark. The coyote was telling us not to make any noises. I was like, “I want to scream because I'm feeling the mice on my feet. I just want to scream and say, ‘Oh my god,’ or ‘Ah,’ something, but I couldn't.”

Laura: My brother, when we crossed the border—my mom has already been in the US for one year, so we crossed the border by ourselves]—when we went with the coyote, he was like, "Do not make any noises. We're going to walk.” I don't remember how much we walk. We were pretty tired. We can only carry one bottle of water and we have already taken all, and when we cross the whole border, there was a car. It was waiting for us. We went to the car, they put a bandage in our eyes so we don't see the road.

Laura: The coyote was always telling us to not make any noises because the border patrol was going to get us caught. I do remember everything like the experience was yesterday. So, when we got in the—

Anne: So, it was just you, and your brother, and the coyote?

Laura: And the coyote?

Anne: That was it?

Laura: Yeah, it was me, my brother, the coyote, and another three people. It was a partner: the kid, one kid, and another, a man. We were like five people, six, seven people. Kind of remember—it was a long time ago. My mom was not there because we went by ourselves. She was already in the US so she pay to get us into the other side. [Chuckles].

Anne: So, did your father come, too?

Laura: We didn't live with our father. He was really an alcoholic, crazy, alcoholic man. [Chuckles].

Anne: Did you leave behind relatives and friends? Was it hard to leave?

Laura: It was really hard. It was complicated because my grandmother was really sick. So when we left her, she was really sick and she died one month later. So it was really sad. My friends, we left them behind. We never talk once. Once we been to the US we have never talk since, so.

Anne: That's sad. So did your mom eventually meet you?

Laura: Yeah.

Anne: Where did she meet you?

Laura: In Chicago. She's living right now in Chicago, so we met her in Chicago as well.

Anne: So that was a long trip on your own.

Laura: Yeah, it was a long trip. We did it. [Laughs].

Anne: Must've been good to see her.

Laura: It was amazing, yeah. She was working and the coyote told us that she was working. Since we were the last two people with the coyote, the coyote took us to our mom. She was in a restaurant because she work as a waitress. And when we got there, she was crying. She was actually carrying dishes and the dishes just fall because she was really impressed. We haven't seen her in one year so she was really impressed and she drop all the dishes. We were all crying, you know. [Chuckles].

Anne: That's great. That's great. Did the US seem strange to you?

Laura: It was strange at first. Well, it was too big for us, you know? Iguala is really small, our city was really small. Chicago is such a huge city. The buildings are really amazing, so I remember that we were really impressed. We couldn't believe that we were in the U.S.

Laura: So we went in the Chicago in October, so it was really beautiful because the trees has those leaves color red, and some of the trees doesn't have any leaves, so it was really cool. [Chuckle].

Anne: Is your brother older or younger?

Laura: He's younger. When we went to the US, I was 12 and he was 10, approximately.

Anne: So, did you know any English?

Laura: No, we learned in the US.

Anne: You did. How did you learn?

Laura: I learned by myself because back in the time, there was no ESL classes. So, when we went to Chicago, my mom took the time to get us into a bilingual school. And in the bilingual school, some of the classes were in Spanish and others in English, and I learn by hearing my classmates. And the teacher was always like, "Hey do this," and I'm like, "What?" And he pointed at what I had to do, so I learned by seeing and hearing.

Anne: So no ESL?

Laura: No ESL. Until high school.

Anne: And what grade did you start?

Laura: I started on seventh grade. Yeah, it was seven grade.

Anne: So, you didn't lose any time in school?

Laura: No, we didn't. Well, my brother, he was in fifth grade so he started in fifth grade and I started in seventh, so we didn't lose any timeframe.

Anne: How long did it take to feel comfortable in English?

Laura: Oh my god, I still don't feel confident because we have a lot of bully when we start to talk in English. The kids were like making fun of us because we didn't have any good English of course. They were like Americans so they were basically always bullying us because we were not American. So that was one of the, how do you say, the—

Anne: The barriers?

Laura: The barriers, yeah. The barriers, took us more time to learn English. Yeah it was actually pretty complicated. [Chuckles].

Anne: How was school?

Laura: At first it was awkward. I didn't want to go to school because the kids were all making bully. They were all bullies. I actually got into a fight about two times because the kids were always making fun of us, that we were like Mexicans. But after that, in high school, it got better.

Anne: Did you make friends?

Laura: Yeah I did, a lot. [Chuckles]. But in high school.

Anne: Were they from all different?

Laura: Yeah, I actually have a lot of friends. I have a Muslim friend actually. They were all different cultures because I went to a bilingual school as well, a bilingual high school. Most of my friends were Americans so they didn't know I was undocumented and I didn't tell anyone.

Anne: Did you know all along that you were undocumented?

Laura: Yeah, I did. But, my brother, he took a lot of more time to realize that we were not Americans because when he went to the US, he was really a kid, so he didn't realize that it was illegal. [chuckles]

Anne: Did your mother learn English, too?

Laura: She tried, but it was a little more complicated for her because there are no programs that support those kinds of like, to learn English undocumented. She's afraid that if she got into one of those programs, the ICE is going to get her caught, so that's why.

Anne: So, she was afraid?

Laura: Yeah, she was afraid.

Anne: Did she work a lot?

Laura: Yeah, she did.

Anne: In the restaurant?

Laura: She did work a lot in a restaurant. Right now, she's manager of a restaurant. She's the manager but she did a lot of work. She was never around the house because she has to work a lot. She was always saying that, "If I came to America it's to get you in school, and to always have money so we don't end back in Mexico." That was her idea.

Anne: So, then you became the mother of your brother?

Laura: Yeah, kind of. I was always taking care of him. I teach him how to cook, or how to make the stuff. Basically, I learn from my mom, but my brother learn from me.

Anne: So how did school compare to the schooling that you'd had in Mexico?

Laura: It was actually better, the education. I afraid to tell this, but the education is better in America than in Mexico. We have a lot of sports, we have the art classes, and in Mexico we didn't have any of those. We only have Spanish and math, and that's it. [Chuckles].

Anne: So, you did well in school?

Laura: I did. I actually went into the honors roll. When I graduated from high school, I graduate as top 10 and I graduate as number three in my generation. I earned a scholarship to get into the University of Chicago, but it was only for one semester and I couldn't pay the whole career.

Anne: So, you got a scholarship to the University of Chicago?

Laura: Yeah.

Anne: That's great. For one semester?

Laura: For one semester?

Anne: And did you go?

Laura: I try, but since I have to work and I have to go to school, I couldn't manage that. It was too much for me. I couldn't. It was too much.

Anne: So, you didn't even try, I mean you did not go—

Laura: I did one semester, but the rest of that I couldn't because I didn't have any money. My family needed the money, so I try to help my mom, but ... well it was not enough. The school in America's really expensive. [Chuckles]

Anne: Did you enjoy college?

Laura: The only one semester I went, yeah, I did. [Chuckles].

Anne: And what were you hoping to do with college?

Laura: I was trying to get into the medical school. I was in liberal arts of science, but I changed my mind and I wanted to get into the medical school, but I couldn't. It was a lot of money. We didn't have any money. We did have money to get into the basics, but we didn't have enough to pay my school of course.

Anne: So, when you stopped college, what did you do?

Laura: I work, because-

Anne: Where do you work?

Laura: I work as a waitress. We use fake social security numbers to get into job. I used to work at Chili's, I used to work at Discovery. I never work at McDonald's, but my brother did. Most of the time I worked as a waitress to get money to start paying my school once again, but I realize that it was too complicated. So, then I move off to Mexico. Well, it was complicated, too. [Chuckle].

Anne: Did your brother also graduate from high school?

Laura: He did. He did graduate from high school. He got DACA, but he didn't use the DACA. Like he only work at factories because the social security number was the legal one, however, he didn't want to study.

Anne: So, when you were at the University of Chicago, did you learn about DACA?

Laura: When I was in the University, I was approximately 17 years old, kind of. Like 17 or 18. I didn't learn about DACA until I was voluntary deported. So when I get into Mexico, one day later, they approve DACA.

Anne: And when was that? What year?

Laura: 2011, 2010? I don't remember quite well.

Anne: Yeah, 2011 maybe.

Laura: 2011 or something.

Anne: It started in 2012.

Laura: Yeah, and I was really upset because it was one day later. Like, come on. [Chuckles]. I was waiting like my whole life to be legal. When they basically give all the people that went into the US as children the DACA, I was pretty upset. Like, what? I was in depression. Totally depression, yeah.

Anne: So, you were working as a waitress?

Laura: Yeah.

Anne: Did you have a boyfriend?

Laura: No. I used to have a boyfriend in high school and that was the only one. He was American. He study at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology].

Anne: MIT?

Laura: Yeah, so when he went to the MIT we have to broke out because actually, well you know.[Chuckles]

Anne: Yeah.

Laura: He was really focused on his career. I want to focus on my career as well so we broke up. That was the only boyfriend that I remember. [Laughs].

Anne: So, you said you had voluntary departure. So, what happened?

Laura: I got caught driving without any license. Well, I was told that if I voluntary departure from the US, I wouldn't be in any trouble. So, I did what it was best for me because we went to a lawyer and that's what the lawyer suggest. So, that was six months, the timeframe that the judge gave me to leave the US.

Anne: So, you got caught driving without a license? Was there an infraction or did you just get pulled over for…?

Laura: I got pulled over. Well, they didn't tell me. They tell me that I haven't made the five second stop or something like that, but I did, but they say that I didn't. So, when the police find out that I didn't have any driver's license, he asked me about my status. I told him that it was illegal to ask about the status, but they tell me that if I was illegal they will have to call ICE on me. I was like, "Come on, please don't do that." And, of course, I was begging for not to call ICE. So, they find out that I was illegal. So, basically—

Anne: They called ICE?

Laura: They called ICE.

Anne: And you said a lawyer told you to listen to...?

Laura: Yeah, we talked to a lawyer. Well, I was having my judge appointment, like my court, but the lawyer tell me that if I voluntary departure, I didn't have to go through all of that because if they deport me, will be worse for me. So, I went to voluntary departure.

Anne: And how long did that take?

Laura: They took about six months, approximately.

Anne: And were you in detention or were you at home?

Laura: I was in home but I have the little thingy, the, I don't know.

Anne: You had an ankle bracelet.

Laura: Yeah, ankle. I was like, "Come on." [Chuckle]. Why?

Anne: Yeah, yeah. So, when you left, where were you going to go? Did you have a plan?

Laura: Well, we didn't have a plan, but we started to plan it when the circumstances got worse. So, my mom tell me that if I want to get my education, I will have to do it by myself here in Mexico. So when I got in here, it was complicated. It was complicated, but I kind of feel good.

Laura: But it was really, Oh my god, the separation, all of that. I felt it like, “Come on. Why?” Sometimes I felt like life was really unfair. When I got in the Mexico, what I have in my mind was to study, not to let my studies go for a deportation or something like that.

Anne: With the voluntary departure did they tell you, you could go back to the US after a certain amount of time?

Laura: Yeah, they told me that actually. But when I got in here, I wait about three, four years, then I apply for a scholarship for Rochester University and they give me the scholarship for one semester and they gave me a visa for that, so.

Anne: So, are you going?

Laura: I already went. [Chuckles]. I was studying nuclear physics, so they give me a scholarship for math school there is on Rochester University. So, I took it. It was my opportunity to get a visa, so I took the visa and I went to Rochester for one semester, and, of course, I went to Chicago as well. [Chuckle]. I went to see my family.

Anne: So, are you going to go back?

Laura: To the US?

Anne: To finish up your—

Laura: No, the scholarship was from my school. I went to the Politécnico [Instituto Politécnico Nacional]. So, it was like—

Anne: Like a study abroad?

Laura: Yeah, study abroad. So, they gave me that opportunity, so I took it. I didn't think twice. I had the opportunity to go to that school or to go to Japan, so I took it to the US.

Anne: So, you have the opportunity to travel to the US?

Laura: Yeah, I have. Well, when I went to the visa interview, they actually asked me about my status and I did say the truth. They didn't tell me anything about it, so they give me the visa. So, I don't know how the laws work but they give me the visa.

Anne: So, let's go back to coming back to Mexico.

Laura: Oh, okay.

Anne: Were you transported by ICE to the border?

Laura: No, I pay my own transportation because the lawyer just tell me that I have to do it. I didn't question the lawyer. I know that, well if you are a lawyer, you have to know about laws. It was provided by one of the Mexicans. It was a program in the US that... well it was only for immigrant women.

Laura: So, when my mom went to the program, and they tell her that they have this good lawyer and all of that. Well, the lawyer recommend me to go back to Mexico and do not get anything from ICE because if I do have to do it, it will be worse. So, I went here by bus. So we only took the bus and that's it. [Chuckle].

Anne: And you landed, or you came right to Mexico City?

Laura: Well from the bus, it was from Chicago to Nuevo Laredo. The bus got into Nuevo Laredo. I have to look for the bus central to get into Mexico City.

Anne: And you had family here?

Laura: No. I didn't have anyone. Well, as I mentioned before, my grandmother has already died so we didn't have any kind of relatives that were that important. So, when I got into here, I went by myself. I have a friend in here that I met from the internet, so I asked that friend to let me stay at his home and he allow me to stay on his home. So, basically, I have to trust in someone that I didn't knew, but I had met him since I was like 13 years old when I start using the internet so I have to trust him. [Chuckles]. He helped me to look for a job at a bakery, so that was all.

Anne: I mean, the whole idea was you're going to come back and you're going to try and continue your studies? So how did that go?

Laura: At first, it didn't go pretty well because my Spanish was horrible. Right now, my English is horrible but later, back in the time, my Spanish was horrible, so I had to learn. I save a lot of money to pay a school to get regularization—it was for learning how to write and how to speak properly. So, I took that course. I tried to do my test for getting to the UNAM (National Autonomous University of Mexico), but I couldn't. My Spanish was still horrible. My reading was horrible. So, I had to adapt once again to learn Spanish.

Anne: How long did that take?

Laura: That took about six months probably? Or one year because I have to work, too. Here in Mexico, they do the test every six months, so I have to wait until I have learned very well. So, when I learn, once again, I did the test to get into the UNAM or to the Politécnico. I started on both school but I went to the Politécnico to study nuclear physics.

Anne: To study—

Laura: Nuclear physics.

Anne: And are you still doing that?

Laura: I have to finish my tests but I'm almost finished.

Anne: So, when did you start?

Laura: I started back in 2011, 2012? Don't remember pretty well. My mother tried to help me with money, but sometimes it was not enough for me because I have to pay my bills, and she didn't know about Mexico. She believes that it's cheaper than in the US. It is kind of cheaper—well it's not that much cheaper. I have to pay my rent, my bills, and all of that. So, basically, I started to work, and I study in the school as well.

Anne: So, you were doing part time?

Laura: Well, in that timeframe, I was doing part time. Right now, I work in a full job.

Anne: So, you're trying to finish your undergraduate degree? Is that what you're trying to finish right now?

Laura: Yeah, my undergraduate degree.

Anne: In nuclear physics.

Laura: In nuclear physics and I started that second career, economics.

Anne: A second—

Laura: Yeah, a second career on economics.

Anne: And so, when you graduate, you'll have a major in both?

Laura: Yeah.

Anne: And then what? What will you do then?

Laura: Well, right now, what I want to do is work in the government. Well my goal in life is to do the kind of like—you know when the President is speaking, someone writes those announcements and all of that? I want to do that. I want to write for the President, so he can deliver them. I don't know how you say that in English.

Anne: A speech writer.

Laura: A speech writer, yeah for the President, or for the government, yeah.

Anne: I see. So, what kind of job do you have now?

Laura: Right now, I work in a call center for Best Buy. I do the City Bank for credit cards actually. So, I work for the City Bank and they pay pretty well.

Anne: But graduating from college, once you get your degree, will you look for a more...?

Laura: I'm thinking about it because here in Mexico, the business of the science is not that good. In the US, they really try to get people to get interested in science, but in Mexico they don't even have a nuclear plant. So, where can I apply my career?

Laura: So that's why I started to study economics.

Anne: So, will you have to get another degree in order to do what you want to do?

Laura: Yeah, I will have to.

Anne: So, once you graduate, will you apply to school again?

Laura: Yeah. Once I finish my economics, I will start a masters, if possible a PhD. In English I think it's PhD, so.

Anne: So right now, you've finished classwork and you need to pass tests? Is that right?

Laura: Yeah. Well, my day is like, I go to work and when I finish working about 3:00— I start my day at 7:00 AM at my job, and I finish at 3:00,—and later I go to school 5:00 to 9 o'clock, and I got into my house until 11:00 and I have to sleep, and then back again.

Anne: That's a lot.

Laura: It's complicated, but you get used to it.

Anne: And who do you live with?

Laura: By myself.

Anne: In Mexico City?

Laura: Yeah, Mexico City.

Anne: Do you miss your family?

Laura: I really miss them. Well, when I have money ... right now, I have my visa, so ... On December, I earned a scholarship to get into economics school in Japan, so I went to Japan last year. And I got the time to go to see my family too. So, I just saw them in December.

Anne: I see, I see. So, your mother's still working?

Laura: Yeah, she's still working right now. She was a waitress but now she's the manager of the restaurant so she's pretty lucky. And my brother, he has DACA, but he is working in a factory for salsas. [Chuckles].

Anne: When you were in the US, what were your dreams?

Laura: I really wanted to be a doctor, but in Mexico… Oh my god, I really tried to be a doctor here, but it was complicated because most of the what is required in here to be a doctor is complicated. You need a lot of money to be a doctor. So, well, money again. [Chuckles]

Anne: So, your dreams have changed?

Laura: Yeah. Right now, yeah I have a lot of different goals. More tangible, more realistic goals, yeah.

Anne: Do you think you'll meet them?

Laura: Yeah, I believe it because well I deserve it now. [Chuckles].

Anne: What do you miss about the US?

Laura: My family. I really like the winter in Chicago, the snow, you know? It's really cold. I really like to be in Chicago, but the circumstances. It was complicated.

Anne: So do you think that you are different having been to the US for those years? How did it change you?

Laura: They changed me. I believe if I have stayed here in Mexico, probably I would never learn English. Probably, I would not have the opportunity that I have right now to travel to any other places because I like to travel a lot.

Laura: So, when I try to compare myself with my friends, with my friends that we left in Iguala, what I see is that they didn't have the opportunity that I have, like to learn things, to meet some new culture, to meet people. Like they didn't have that opportunity. They stayed in that place, and they were absorbed by the violence, by the narco traffic, and everything. What I think is that I was really lucky. Kind of lucky because some things got complicated, but some things were really an experience, and they were a nice experience.

Laura: I learn a lot from people from the US. They have a different culture, a different, like, you know, thinking. They don't think poorly. Always one more, and in Mexico we don't have that mentality.

Anne: When you say, think one more, think...?

Laura: Like, they are always out of the box—like you for your project. You are always out of the box. In Mexico, people is really closed-minded. Like, they believe that if you were born poor, you will stay poor. And I believe that's not true because what I learn in America is that if you want more, you can have it, but you have to work for it.

Anne: Were you one of the smartest kids in your classes before you left Mexico?

Laura: Yeah.

Anne: You were always really smart?

Laura: Yeah, when I was in Mexico, it was one of the smartest one, and when I went to the US, when I learned the language, I was one of the smartest one, well, kind of.

Anne: And you don't think that being one of the smartest ones in Mexico would have gotten you out?

Laura: No. No, I believe that probably I will be absorbed by violence, too. Probably I would dead or something like that. [Chuckle].

Anne: So, when we talk to young women about your age who grew up primarily in the U.S.—though you had a mixed childhood—a lot of them end up getting pregnant at really young ages, at 14 or 15.

Laura: Yeah.

Anne: And I just wanted you to reflect on that, and why that might happen, and why it was different for you.

Laura: I'm not sure why. [laughs] Maybe the education. When I went to the US, I always have a good education programs. They teach you how to use condoms and all of that now. I admire my teachers a lot. They were really smart—well for me, they were actually really smart. So I always try to time to listen to what they say, and they always tell us like, "Guys, please don't get pregnant because you have a lot of life. First you have to finish your career, and all of that, and then you can get pregnant." So I listen a lot the experiences and advices.

Anne: You said you went to a bilingual school. Was it a public school?

Laura: It was a public school.

Anne: Public, yeah.

Laura: It was called, well it's called Benito Juarez. That was my high school, and my elementary school was Pickard Elementary School.

Anne: That's great. And your brother also, you know, we also hear that the young men, like your brother, often end up in gangs and criminal activities.

Laura: Yeah, no he doesn't do any gangs. But, well I believe that he listens a lot to my mom. She's always like, "Learn from the Americans. Look, they don't have any children." Or, "Look, they are not in gangs." And we're like, "Yeah." Because she was like, "If you really want to be American, act like an American." And we try our best to not get caught by the -“migra”- so we are always like, "No, be careful. No, don't do this." Well, things happen.

Anne: Yes. I don't think I have any more questions, but is there something you would like to share to the people who might listen to this interview that you might not have said thus far that tells us more about you, your experiences as a returning migrant, anything at all?

Laura: Well, when I returned to Mexico, it was really complicated. When I returned in Mexico they didn't have those programs. I already told to the other girl, and I tell her like, this is the first program in about seven years that I found that actually got interest in immigrants like us. If I would find a program that actually support you for being an immigrant or something like that, I will take it. But I didn't know if you were bilingual you get paid more.

Laura: I actually learned that when I was 25, 24-years-old, and that was like when I was five years later in Mexico. If they had more programs that supported immigrants, that would be great. If they give them like the support because it's really complicated. It's a cultural shock. You are in the U.S. and they have a perspective of everything and when you get into Mexico, it is complicated.

Laura: They do not accept you because you were living in the US. They were like, "Oh you chose to get into the US? Go back." Some of those comments, so it's really a shock. They should put more programs that support immigrants in Mexico.

Anne: What kind of programs do you think?

Laura: Like this one, like they help you to look for a job. They provide you more information because I didn't know that you had to certify your certificates from high school and all your transcripts before you can be here. So, it was complicated because I have to send the transcript from my school to my mom, so she can get them certified in the U.S., and then go back to Mexico. Those kind of programs that inform you about those issues or re-integrate you in the culture on the population in Mexico, or something. I don't know. Those kind of programs.


Follow up to Interview


Anne: Tell us why the university of Chicago only gave you a full scholarship for one semester.

Laura: What I was telling you before is that, to get any scholarship or to get into university, if you don't have any social security number, you cannot get into college. So what I did high school, I didn't tell anyone about my status because I was really afraid to get deported. So basically I put a fake social security number in my... How do you say that? My forms?

Anne: Application.

Laura: My applications, yeah. I put a play social security number in my applications. That's the reason that they accept me. But when they find out that I was undocumented, well, they only provide me with a one semester scholarship. That's the reason that I only studied for one semester in university of Chicago.

Laura: Yeah, when I was in high school, I was really smart, so, well, not that smart, but the school told me that I can skip one year if I wanted. So they skipped me one year because I was really, well, I was having a lot of A's in all the classes. I was exceeding in all the classes, so they skipped me from sophomore year to senior year. So I didn't go into junior year, and when they skipped me, I didn't know what to do. It was too soon for me. So, that's one of the reasons that I decided to use that fake number. I didn't tell my mom, either, because she was going to be mad at me. She was going to have to be like, "Hey, why are you doing that? You know that it's illegal." But come on, we were illegal already.

Anne: So your school didn't help you. They must have known that you were undocumented there at high school.

Laura: They did know that we were undocumented and I have a counselor that she was trying her best, but they tried to help me. They actually gave me a scholarship to purchase my books. They gave me $1,000, some scholarship, but it was a need required scholarship [inaudible. But for some reason it was not enough. I went to live on the campus, but it was not enough with that scholarship.

Anne: But they didn't advise you as you were applying for colleges about your undocumented status and how to deal with that.

Laura: No, they didn't. They tried to guide me to apply to the scholarship. Well, I mean this school, but they don't have that much undocumented people in high school, and when they are undocumented, they don't actually like to study in school. Most of them don't like to go to college or they realize that there aren't able to study in college.

Anne: So you were sort of an anomaly. They didn't know what to do with you.

Laura: Yeah, they didn't know what to do with me.


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