I was born and raised in Mexico where my entire family was involved in giving back to the community in some way whether it was through public service or working with the local students. I came to the United States on a tourist visa, not knowing the language or culture. After my visa expired, I realized how difficult life as an immigrant can be in the United States. I didn't speak the language, which made it very difficult to communicate my needs effectively to others and get the simple resources that others, citizens or not, take for granted. I didn't have a license and couldn't transport myself, I was dependent on public transit or others to move around, something I was not used to. I just remember that what I experienced then was something that I didn't want anyone else to have to experience.
I was lucky enough to fall in love with a U.S. Citizen and our marriage made my legalization process easier. It would have been easy for me to forget my roots then, consider myself 100% American and move on to a happy and easy life... but that's not what my family taught me. Instead, I chose to use my struggle to help others and educate and organize immigrant communities. I began my work helping immigrant communities in Utah where I spent 15 years as an amateur organizer. I would meet with the Mayor and our state representatives and share stories of what was going on with the communities I cared about and simply ask for help. I was surprised at how easy it was to get the resources and help we needed by just asking and having a seat at the table. We held events and round tables and I began to gather attention for the work that we were doing. It wasn't until years later that I was properly trained as an organizer by LULAC.
When I moved down to Florida, the process started all over again. I quickly realized that immigrants in Florida did not have driver's licenses and other resources necessary to lead productive lives... so we got to work. I ended up taking on a variety of causes from immigration reform to climate change, we won some and we lost plenty but it was the work that I loved to do. In 2013 I got to go to DC and meet with Representatives Mica, Ross and Senator Rubio to talk about immigration reform. That was one of the highlights of my activism career as I got to share work that I was so passionate about with the people that represented my communities back home and got to make those decisions. Things didn't work out in 2013 but now I'm hopeful and ready to do what I can to have another shot in the coming years.
I support comprehensive immigration reform because there are countless communities, immigrants and families out there just waiting to be able to contribute like I have. Without legal status, there's no way I would have been able to be as engaged as I am and give back what I have to the community. Without legal status, there's no way a DREAMer can go on to find the cure for cancer trapped in his brilliant mind. Without legal status, there's no way an undocumented farm worker can get the job stability he needs to properly support his family and stay in one area throughout growing seasons. These are the people I work with and they need help. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure they get this help.
"Dios nos guia paso a paso a la ciudadanía"