Making History / Stories / Uncertainty

Moises O.- Reconnecting With Family


“Until DACA, I didn’t have the necessary papers to drive, to work, get an education or establish credit. This was no way to live, not with all the things I wanted to accomplish.”
Moises O, 30, Lakeland, FL, Born in Jalisco, Mexico

I believe I’m living the American Dream having just opened my own Mexican-American sports restaurant with my brother. We’ve been in business for six months and we’re doing well. It’s a dream come true for me.

I first came to the States when I was 12 to attend my sister’s wedding. For several years, thereafter, I’d spend summers in Florida and return to Mexico on a tourist visa. When I lost my tourist visa, I was forced to walk across the border near Tijuana with my uncle. I was only 16. It was a cold, dangerous journey and we almost didn’t make it. Once in the country, I joined my family already living in Florida – my mom, dad, two brothers and one sister. I lived with one of my brothers. My sister and one brother were born in the States so they’re citizens. My dad is also a citizen while my mom has legal residency. I had no status until DACA which allowed me to stop worrying about being deported and to secure a driver’s license and Social Security card. I could now almost fully participate in society. I graduated high school and earned my AA, focusing on business.

With DACA, I was also able to visit my elderly grandmother and aunts, dear relatives I hadn’t seen in 12 years. It meant the world to me. I urge other Dreamers to return to renew family ties. It reminded me of my origins while reinforcing my decision to make a new life in America.

I feel free in America, free to seize opportunities and realize my dream. I haven’t yet started my own family, but I know I’ll be able to take care of my future responsibilities. I earn a good living, pay my taxes and put people to work in my restaurant. It is here that I make it my mission to provide good food and excellent service. I want to provide an enjoyable experience, to make people smile. I came to this country for a better life and to make this country better. I am happy to say I’m succeeding at both.