Growing Up in a Family of Newcomers - Finding a Place in Solano County

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My family and I came to the United States from Guerrero, Mexico, when I was one year old. My parents brought me here to Solano County because they wanted me to have more opportunities and a better education.

As an immigrant family, we have found Solano County to be welcoming. When we got here, my parents didn’t know where to start, and they spoke little English. When they were looking for a home and jobs, a lot of people and organizations here donated food, clothing, and other things we needed in order to live. I got to go to preschool. And growing up, I’ve gotten a lot of help in school through programs for immigrant families, like afterschool tutors who helped me with my English and math. But, it wasn’t always easy. My two younger brothers and I hardly saw our dad when we were growing up because he was always working.

When I was in high school, all my friends were getting jobs, and I wanted to but I found out I couldn’t because I was undocumented. There were even some volunteer programs that I couldn’t be a part of. It made me frustrated. I started spending a lot of time thinking about how I wasn’t going to be able to continue my education or get a job. That was one of the toughest stages of my life. My mom tried to help me stay motivated and not lose hope. She told me that good things would come my way if I worked hard and was patient.

I don’t know what it’s like to grow up in a place like San Francisco, which is a sanctuary city. I hear about sanctuary cities and I’m not sure if it means that immigrants who live in them have more opportunities. I do think that more immigrant voices are heard in places like San Francisco, and that’s good for all of us.

I am in community college right now and I want to transfer to a university when I’m done. I can’t predict my future and I don’t know where I’ll end up, but I know I want to have a career that will allow me to be independent, and I want to help undocumented families or students find resources where they can get help regardless of their immigration status. I especially want to find some way to help undocumented teenagers be engaged with their communities even if they can’t get jobs like their friends, or participate in the same ways. I want others like me to understand that they can’t give up even if their future is uncertain.