My story is the story of millions-
I was 5 years old when I found myself under the hot summer sun on the shores of a strange beach.
My only comfort then, was my mother's arms holding me tightly.
She came to the United States unaware of the stringent immigration laws and and unaware of the fear we were to live in from that day forward. She loved me enough to leave her life behind, so I could live mine.
My siblings and I survived off of her sacrifices, sometimes working 3 odd jobs a day to keep us clothed and fed. It was those financial, emotional and psychological hardships that pushed me to succeed. Through her arduous journey, my mother taught me the meaning of sacrifice and hard work.
In 2012 I graduated with bachelor's in Biology from the University of Texas at Brownsville, sadly my mother's deportation made it impossible for her to attend. Even though we were only a few miles away, the Rio Grande River divided us permanently. The following year, she passed away in a tragic accident. I had not seen her for 4 years since her deportation, and now I was never going to see her again. Because of my undocumented status I could not cross the border between Mexico and the United States to attend my mother's funeral, because of my undocumented status and I am forced to live with this regret and this heartache forever.
Since my mother's deportation I have had to care for my 3 younger siblings. I was 19 when I was first tasked with the responsibility to raise them, till this day I provide for them and love them like my mother would have. But it shouldn't have to be this way, we shouldn't have to divide families because of the lack of a comprehensive immigration reform. Me and my siblings should not have had to grow up without a mother, I shouldn't have had to suffer through her death the way that I did.
And this is not only my story, this is the story of millions of families across the United States.
In 2015 I joined Teach For America on the core belief that every child deserves a quality education. Currently, I teach Biology and Medical Microbiology at the secondary level in Mercedes, Texas. For me, going through the education system as an undocumented student was one of the most daunting experiences I have had to go through; constantly trying to fit in in a place that did welcome me. I lived in fear and in loneliness- a feeling I don't want my students to feel. I became a teacher because I want to teach my students that the language on their birth certificates does not dictate their futures, I want to teach them that if they follow their dreams and if they push through and persevere anything is possible. But we have to fight, we have to fight for our education and fight for our rights.
So I urge you, please be an ally to me and to the millions of students, teachers, innovators, and entrepreneurs that have defied the odds and are fighting to make this country a better place.