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?”