My name is Marcos Verdi and I’m from Lima, Peru. I’m a junior at Baruch College majoring in Economics and Math. Yes, I am undocumented.
I came with my parents when I was sixteen. They decided to bring me here in order to achieve what my father desired for me: an American education. My father, as well as my mother, is a teacher. He was always an outstanding student at school. He was only a child when his older brother emigrated to the United States in order to somehow help the rest of the family. It was from his brother, that my father heard all the great stories about America and the promising future it offered to immigrants. At this point it became his dream to be able to come to the U.S. and pursue a career; however, he did not have the resources to do so. In fact, he was the only man taking care of a large family, as his brother was far away, and my grandparents were elder. As a child I always admired how he managed to become a professional while raising me and how he always took care of my grandparents and his other four sisters.
As I was growing up, he wanted to give me the opportunity that he never had. My family decided to leave the life for which they had worked so hard for, for an uncertain future, but with many hopes. At first I thought my parents were selfish to take me away from the great life I had in Lima. Later I would realize that I did not know much about life. Also, I felt they were not being fair by bringing me as an undocumented teenager who would probably have more obstacles than opportunities. Of course, now I thank my parents for doing so.
Little by little I started to “fall in love” with this country. I made many friends, I started to make a life here, and at some point I felt, and knew, I was home. And my affection grew as I learned more about America. I always felt there was something special about a country that from its very beginnings gave its citizens not only the common rights of life and liberty but also “the pursuit of happiness”.
Maybe my situation is not the same as those who were brought here as infants and I can only imagine their position. However, I consider this my home, and the fight for immigrant rights to be morally legitimate. I felt very happy when I found, and joined, the New York State Youth Leadership Council a few weeks ago and discovered the many people who went through the same external and internal struggles that I went through.
Like many people, there were times I felt I was overwhelmingly alone, until one day I realized that if I’m still in this country after the many risky situations, it’s because God is on my side. We are facing the same situation that African Americans faced when they were segregated for no valid reason, the very founding fathers who felt oppressed by the English Monarchy with no right. Both succeeded. These comparisons may sound exaggerated but I strongly believe that we are facing a great opportunity to make history.
Maybe law is not on our side, but morality is. This only convinces me that, sooner or later, the DREAM Act will stop being just a dream and will be an open door for many of us and our families. We do not only want IDs, driver licenses, visas to travel freely, or financial aid to pay for our education. We also want the opportunity to make a contribution to the country we love and we call home.