Financial Hardship / Making History / Stories

Marcela V.


Marcela V, 27, Los Angeles, Born in Mexico

I have been a dreamer since I was two, when my parents brought me to the States, sadly leaving three of their children behind. It was financially impossible to bring all of us. It was so hard on our family to be separated, but my father had a dream that all his kids would get college educations in the U.S. First he would get us here and then he’d save to make sure his dream came true.

There was more sadness when my deathly ill grandpa made it necessary for us to return to Mexico after only three years in the States. When we re-entered the U.S., we came as a whole family. I remember on our crossing that my mom watched for rattlesnakes along the path. I had my parents to keep me from being terrified, but I’m not sure how they did it. All I know is that they desperately wanted a better life for their children.

In later years, my oldest brother returned to Mexico and I’ve not seen him for 20 years, despite his ongoing efforts to get a visitor visa. I can’t go see him, nor could I return to Mexico when my grandma died. My sister has graduated from college here and my brother is working on his degree. Three of my father’s children got the college education he envisioned and paid for thanks to my father. He saw education as our way to overcome all the negative things said by those who are opposed to immigration.

Now I’m married and have a child of my own who is only four months. My husband and I live in Los Angeles. Always interested in communications and marketing, I got my B.A. in Graphic Design from California State University Los Angeles and have worked in this field since 2011. I currently work for NALEO (National Assoc. of Latino Elected Officials) Educational Fund, an organization focused on empowering Latinos from citizenship to public service. The community outreach I do for this group has made me realize the importance of working together and giving back by educating others.

Along with my brother and sister, I applied for DACA when it was announced in 2012. I feel a little more secure, though President Obama’s actions are constantly threatened. My husband is a U.S. citizen and I could apply for a visa but I would have to do so from outside the country and wait for possibly 10 years. I can’t do this. I have a family, a young child, aging parents and a career. I consider myself an American. My story is only one out of 11 million. They all must be told to make it clear that real immigration reform will make America stronger.