New York State Youth Leadership Council

I’m Margarita, An Undocumented And Unlicensed Vet. Technician


Mar 12


In honor of Coming Out of the Shadows Week, we will be highlighting a story a day. Please keep an eye out for them. If you would like to submit your story, email

My name is Margarita. In 1992, I was brought to New York from Mexico by my mother when I was 2 years old. I was raised in Staten Island. I went to P.S.30 thinking I was a Staten Islander, but when I was in the 6th grade, I found out I was not like the rest of the kids at my school. Everyone else went to Hershey Park, Six Flags or Sesame Place for parties and I was never allowed to go because my parents feared I would get picked up and be deported. So, only a hand full of my friends actually knew about my immigration status and they were pretty cool about it.

During the end of the 6th grade my parents had the idea of returning to Mexico. They thought things would be different and that they could provide a better life for myself and my two younger brothers, both are U.S citizens. We left New York in August. But things didn’t turn out the way my parents had hoped. School was hard because for us, Spanish was so difficult. It was a shock; the culture and the language, it was too much. People there didn’t believe we were Mexican because of the way we pronounced our words, and because we didn’t understand their slang and double sense of humor. For my parents it was just as bad. The money they saved up, and were hoping would help them settle into a new life, was gone so quickly. And they could not find a job.

That’s when my father returned to the U.S. for the second time. We followed a few months afterward. I made it back in time to finish finish the 7th grade with my friends. They kept asking me how it was in Mexico, and how happy they were to see me again.

It wasn’t until it was time to apply for college when the problem of being undocumented hit me again. I knew no one who could help me find financial aid or help me fill out the paperwork to apply for college. I applied for college and I ended up going to SUNY Delhi for their veterinary technology program. During my four years of High School I was in the Army JROTC program. The army instructor knew about my situation and he helped me obtain a fleet week scholarship. It wasn’t much but it helped pay the books for the first semester.

I had to leave Delhi due to the fact that my parents couldn’t pay for the tuition. So I transferred to CUNY LaGuardia Community College where I was able to successfully finish the veterinary technology program. The only problem now is that I cannot take the licensing exam and cannot legally call myself a Veterinary Technician due to the fact that I am undocumented. I couldn’t even muster up the courage to talk to the owner of the veterinary clinic in Brooklyn (where I had to go for my full-time internship) about my situation, especially after I heard him talking to another veterinarian about how the only “Illegal Mexicans” he will ever deal with were his three “undocumented” chihuahuas.

In the end I am left asking myself, “If I don’t belong in Mexico and I don’t belong in New York, then where exactly do I belong?”

  • vet tech

    Wow, I don't know what I would do in that situation. Heartbreaking.

  • Estefania

    I go to the same school! and heard that undocumented students are not allowed to be in any health profession since they are not eligible for the licensing exam! I suggest you don't let this discourage you from reaching your goals. REACH FOR YOUR DREAMS and DON'T GIVE UP! Just know that you are not alone, I too am in this situation. You don't need to belong to any country, just believe in yourself! 😀

  • Laura Cortez

    I have been searching for a career to pursue and I finally found it, a veterinary technician. While doing some research about the career I saw this story and I am amazed. Amazed for the reason that I too am undocumented, and the reason it has taken me so long to actually start college was for the fear that even with college, I was not going to be successful in acquiring a job after receiving my degree. It was a relief finding this story for I know I am not alone in this world, as I feel the same way as Margarita. I do not live in New York, but in California. For I am across the U.S. , I ask myself the same question every day as well,”Where exactly do I belong?” Margarita if you are ever to read this comment, please respond for I would like to get your opinion on whether I should pursue this or not.