An Alternative for Undocumented Mexican Students
there are many mexicans living in the united states who want to become american citizens just because they have been living there for many years. they want to think like americans, want to be called americans, and pretend they do not belong to any other country than the united states. they went to the united states as children and have lived in the country all their lives. now that they have graduated from high school and college they cannot work because they are not legal in the country. and they are not legal because they remain mexican citizens. they have forgotten that they have a citizenship called ‘mexican’ and that they can use it just like they would if they had american citizenship.
they have to know that they are just mexicans who speak good english. the dream act and immigration reform have become political issues that will only be solved when politicians decide they can fruitfully use them for their political strategies. politics is also about time... everything has a time limit and a purpose in politics, and the immigration issues are no exception. meanwhile, these students cannot work legally and let their time to get experience pass. that is a waste of time from a professional point of view.
their problem is not as hard as it may appear to be. they can come to mexico to work and get the experience they are missing in the us. in mexico, they will be part of the majority, not a minority. they can share their talent with mexican industry and government institutions. they can create wealth, they can do business, they can grow professionally, they can hold advanced degrees, and they can get their passports and apply for a work visa in case they want to go back to the united states.
since they lived in the united states previously, they can contact a company that sponsors them with a work visa. they will adapt easily. once they have it, they can apply for a green card and eventually for citizenship. their legalization path would be shorter than going through the waiting for immigration reform.
one of the things they must be aware of is that mexico should not be seen as a poor country that does not provide opportunities for its people. the problem with this view is that most children that were taken to the united states come from poor families that did not have an option but to cross illegally into the united states. and poverty is the only picture of mexico they remember. that is why they feel ashamed to be called mexicans. they relate the country to what they remember was their condition before going to the united states.
if mexico were what many people stereotype it to be, most mexicans, rich and poor, would have gone to the united states to search for opportunities. and most mexicans would be ashamed of their country, which is not the case.
if they do not know mexico or all their family members live in the unites states, still they have the opportunity to come. since they are mexican citizens, they can apply for a job, get credit, own a house and a car, and immigrate legally to the unites states, in case they want it. it is easier to be legal in the unites states from being legal in mexico than being legal in the united states from being illegal in the united states. that is respect for the law.
i encourage those undocumented mexican students to come back to their country and live the life they are not able to have in the unites states. in case they want to immigrate, they can get behind the line of other mexicans that want to cross legally. that is a better path to legalization.
i personally had the experience of being illegal in the united states. after i finished high school in mexico in june 2003, i went to statesboro, georgia to search for opportunities. i lived with an uncle and enrolled in an american high school for a semester. after that semester i dropped out of school and started to work as a restaurant waiter and tobacco leaves picker. i went to the tobacco fields in the morning and to the restaurant in the afternoon. after 6 months of working in this way, i went to tifton, georgia to get my ged (general equivalency diploma) . i had sufficient english skills to do the ged in english, which helped me overcome the language barrier. by that time, my purpose was not only to work but also to enroll in college. after i got the ged, i applied for admission at abraham baldwin agricultural college in tifton and obtained an out-of-state tuition waiver. i paid the remaining fees with my savings.
meanwhile i worked at a mexican store on the weekends since i was a full time student. after 3 semesters i transferred to armstrong atlantic state university in savannah, georgia. i got a scholarship for a year. i also worked part time and went to school full time.
however, after that year my scholarship was not renewed, and i had to drop out since out-of-state fees were very high. i decided to work wtarever i could find it. for 2 years i worked in restaurants, warehouses, and cleaning companies. my 5 semesters of mechanical engineering and all the effort to get them were eroding as time passed by. i also waited for the dream act to come forward for a positive vote in congress; i supported civil rights organizations in the immigration effort, and wanted to be legal as well. but nothing came.
however, i started to think about other opportunities, and mexico was the option. in the same way i had gone to the unites states to search for better opportunities, i came back to mexico to complete my engineering degree, be legal, and have a better life. i thought of the values of humankind that make people prosper and thrive, and i reasoned that order, discipline, perseverance, hard work, and legality are the basics upon which everything may come as a result.
after 6 years of living in the united states, i came back to chihuahua city, mexico and enrolled in the autonomous university of chihuahua in aerospace engineering. i transferred most of my credits from my previous schools and started working part time in an english-speaking call center.
the aerospace engineering program is composed of studying 6 semesters in chihuahua and the remaining 3 semesters in new mexico state university. in new mexico i will pay in-state tuition and hold an f-1 student visa. after the last 3 semesters, i will be awarded 2 bachelor’s degrees: one from the autonomous university of chihuahua and the other from new mexico state university.
then i will be able to apply for a work visa and be sponsored by an american aerospace company, or come to mexico and work in the growing aerospace industry. i can even apply for a scholarship at the national council of science and technology to do a master’s degree in a foreign country, for example the united states.
i will transfer to new mexico state by august, 2011. i already have my passport and all my documents ready. basically i am 6 months from being legal in the united states. i am so glad everything has worked out as planned.
in mexico i have learned the good mexican values that preserve a rich and beautiful country. among those values is the love for mexico, the appreciation of mexican cultural traditions, the value of hard work and the courage to overcome any barrier. and, despite the notorious violence, mexican families are strong and brave. i have not found any reason to be ashamed of mexico. that is why i encourage all those mexican undocumented students to come to mexico and get on their feet. to live the life they deserve.
i am not against the effort of thousands of people who support the passing of the dream act and other policies, but i am worried about many fellow mexicans who can have a very successful and rewarding life, but they are not able to.