As interviewed by Eli Hanser-Young, March fourth 2015

A.B.: In Her Own Words

I was born in Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico. My dad didnít have a job and he couldnít find any job anytime soon. I was a baby, and we didnít have money, so he decided to come to the U.S. and get a job. He was here for eight months before my mom and I were able to come to him. I came here on an airplane with my mom when I was two-years-old.

My family is very small, just four people: itís my mom, my dad, my brother, and I. Only my brother, who is thirteen-years-old, is a citizen. I am here as a ďDreamerĒ because I was born in Mexico; both my parents are illegal. At home I speak Spanish. However, English is often used with my brother and with my dog. My parents were never very politically active, [but] both my mom and my dad are always watching the news and are always up to date with current events. Growing up with my family, I cannot complain. My parents are great parents, and they always gave me and my brother what we needed. We never had lots of luxuries, but I was always happy where our family was. We are a very united family. Weíre always together, weíre always spending time together, going out -- itís always a family thing with us, which is why, when my dad left, it was very hard for us.

My dad was deported a year ago and was in Mexico for around eight months. When he was deported, it was a very difficult time for me and my family. My mom and I struggled a lot to pay the bills. I had to stop going to school and work to help my mom out to pay the rent and all of the bills. It was a very hard and sad time for me because I had to take lots of responsibility that a lot of people my age donít have. I missed my dad, and I had a lot of things on my mind -- helping my mom and making sure my brother was doing good in school. Pretty much just being like the dad figure to him for a while.

My mom works at delivering xxxx. My dad works at a warehouse unloading trucks. Every time my parents drive out, it scares me because you never know when they could get pulled over, or you donít know if they could get in a car accident and cause the police to come and question them. Right now, how things are, they could get deported any time -- especially my dad. I do worry. Itís something I worry [about] every day.

I have family in Mexico. Itís both my mom and my dadís family. I am very close to my grandma. She can sometimes come and visit, but not most the time because itís expensive for her to come, and I miss her a lot. I have only seen her twice since I came to the U.S. and that [grandmaís last visit] was around three years ago. I also have my grandma on my dadís side who I hardly ever talk to, but I always miss them as well. My mom keeps a very strong connection with her family over there. My dad is a little more reserved with his family. However, he really misses them all the time.

Ironically, one of my favorite childhood memories was when I was visiting Mexico. I visited Mexico at the age of seven and that was the last time I went to Mexico. I remember going to the beach with my grandma and with my family members. I remember it and cherish it very much because itís been a long time since Iíve been over there, and who knows when I am going to be able to visit again. I would love to visit, maybe in the future, however living in Mexico... I do not see myself living outside of this country.

I get jealous of my brother because he has citizenship. If my parents had, maybe, thought about the future a little further, I could have been born here in the country, and I wouldnít have been having all this trouble. I could apply for a student loan if I had citizenship and wouldnít have to be working so hard to just pay off some classes at xxxx. I could pretty much do anything. I could even help my mom and my dad get residency in two years, since Iíd be twenty-one then.