Statistics do not tell the story of immigration. People do. Since its inception, this nation has been continually infused with the energy of newcomers. Yet their assimilation has seldom been smooth. The challenges we face today are not new. Only the stories are.


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I was deported after being legally in the USA for over fifty years and receiving social security. They took my S.S. away. I am 69 years old and had not visited my country in all that time. My sons are all U.S. Citizens and my mother too. I do not know anyone in my country. It’s been a nightmare. I sas hoping the plane would crash. That’s how depressed I felt. I think it was an injustice to take my only source of income. I thought this was a just country.
Luis Eugenio
Dominican Republic

I came to the US on the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Program. I have been here since July, 23, 2014 and my visa was for 1 month. Right in the middle of the fun I was having around the US with 35 Iraqi students and 10 Americans, my family called me and told me that they have left home and they are refugees. Now my village was taken over by ISIS and they are killing people for their religious beliefs and thousands of the young girls are now taken as sex slaves. So I applied for asylum in US before my visa expired and I did my interview 2 months ago. Now I’m just waiting for the letter to come and if they say yes then I’m safe here. If not then I might have to go back and I could be killed there.
Portland, OR

I came to United States at the age of 14 from Uzbekistan. The decision was my mother’s; she felt like we needed a better life after my father died from lymphatic cancer. It was tough at first, but all I cared about is that I’m here now. I knew I had no future in Uzbekistan due to extreme corruption and broken education for which you can pay through. I am 17 now, on my way to college. Although current circumstances aren’t as I’d want them to be, I will change that. After all, this is the land of opportunities.
Los Angeles

I was brought here when I was 2 years old. My dad came to New York a few years before but left my mom pregnant. Sadly, he couldn’t see me when I was a baby due to him being illegal. He sent for us when I was 2 1/2 years old. I crossed the border with my mom and granddad and my aunt. Back then it was easier than it is now. My mom told me she was lucky that I was a quiet baby so we had no trouble. When we came to new York I lived in my uncle’s house (who is a citizen) and I moved to new jersey 3 months later. I’m 15 now and I still get really upset because I want to be legal here. I want to help my parents out and get a good job and buy them their own house, but sadly I can’t. I want to study cosmetology or psychology but me being illegal I can’t.
New York

I went school in Canada and moved to Texas in 2010. At that time I was thinking it will be hard to settle in because of my race. However this was not the case. Within 3 months I got my first job and from there on I am just progressing. My family moved here in 2012. I would just like to thank the US for giving me an opportunity to pursue my dreams. Of course all countries have pros and cons but I still believe US is the land of opportunities. It has all the tools and resources you need to succeed. You don’t need to be rich to enjoy all the privileges this country has to offer. You can still live a beautiful life. People are so helpful here. You get the respect you deserve. I was not born here but I wish I did.
Thank you US for everything.

My father was heading to work when the immigration was waiting for him. They had a warrant for him. They took him even though he has been living here for 40+ years. Now he can’t see his newborn grandson, nor me or my brother including my little sister. My parents are divorced and who is she supposed to give her advice, give her that comfort that my father did. He paid all of his taxes and did everything by the books. I just can’t believe this is what we call justice in America. This isn’t the land of the free anymore. My father is my role model. He raised me and my older brother by himself. I just can’t believe how they can do this to an innocent man. He’s been in the immigration holding facilities for a year now!
Pasadena, TX

I came here in 2009 and immigrated by myself from Iraq. I was 20 years old then. Now I’m 25 years old and pretty soon will become a citizen. Don’t have family support or any kind of support. It was tough at times but quiet seas don’t make good sailors. Life is going pretty well. I have a lot of experience in sales and customer service. I can work in any field I wish for. I’m working full time and going to school part time. I made a really good plan for my future. I believe that my future is set.
No location given

I came to the United States when I was only 4 years old. I have 3 siblings, 2 of them are apart of the dream act , they have their ss and worker permit for a limited time. My parents are illegal immigrants, but my father has his drivers license which expires 2017 and we don’t know what is gonna happen after that. It was a miracle how he got his license back in 2007. My parents work as janitors because they can’t get better jobs because of their status. I’m 18 years old, I recently just graduated high school. I’m very depressed because I see kids going to school, getting jobs, cars etc and I am stuck in my life. I can’t work, I can’t do a thing without being afraid of being deported. I feel very low. It saddens me everyday I sit at home wishing my life was better.

At the age of three, my mom left me and my twin brother in the care of my grandmother to find a better life. She worked day and night to have us back. Six months later my lovely, hardworking mother sent for us. Our trip to America wasn’t nearly as hard as hers though. She had to walk the deadly trail, hoping she could make it is so she can see us again. Once we were all together life got better for a short time. Some years after my mother lost her job because of an on the job accident. My mother was fired and felt lost. Our life is now better, but all I want is to be able to keep my education going and to give back all I was given. It’s a dream that may never come true, but my hope is there. May God help me and bless all of you.
No location given

I was born here in USA Northridge, CA in 1980 by immigrant parents. My mother came to the USA at the age of 15 and my father at the age of 16. Both of them should of been in high school but got here and started working. We never received any type of government help. We had to work very hard to survive and pay our rent until now. I heard on the news about what is going on at the border and didn’t really care until I heard my cousin and her two young children were held. She and her husband and children are here because their lands were taken away and some bad people are trying to steal the rest of their lands. My cousin was able to get help but told me some really horrible stories about how they are being held in one small room and they are all crowded with moms and babies not being able to sleep and eat only once a day. I had no idea this was happening until today when she and her 2 children were released. The youngest of her children is a 1 1/2 yr old girl. They are here now but she was left with a real bad trauma. She wakes up crying asking for food, something that she never did until this happed. I really feel sad to know that people are not being treated right but worse than animals! We are children of God. What happened to one nation under God?
Northridge, CA

I’m 42 and live in Morocco with my deported husband. His visa had expired and he overstayed. He saved my life as I was divorcing an abusive husband of 20 years. I relocated and we married. He was taking care of me and my son. I was back in college. Until the day they found him. They deported him and left me homeless. I only had enough money to buy a ticket to his country as nobody would help me. We are now stuck here and making it but struggling. I say why would my country deport someone who was working and helped me a citizen make my life better. We are out of ways for me to come home and nobody to help us.

I am a U.S. and Canadian citizen and have lived here in the U.S. for over 9 years now. My boyfriend was brought to the U.S. (without papers) when he was 17. He came with his dad, leaving his mom and siblings behind in Mexico. He has never been back and has now lived in the U.S. for over 14 years. When they arrived at the border town in Mexico, they were kidnapped for ransom. Their kidnappers started to take them out to the desert (which many times means death.) Thankfully, however, he and his dad managed to escape and continue their journey. Despite having had that harrowing experience, my boyfriend explained that he and his dad had a rather easy crossing, not suffering nearly as much as many do. Anyway, we plan to get married soon, but our future is uncertain. In the beginning of this year, he got pulled over for driving with a suspended license. Instead of just being given the standard fine, he was also given a court date. Before I met him, I had a very different perspective over illegal immigration. I was very “by the books” and not very understanding of what immigrants go through. But now I have a lot of respect for all immigrants; they are so determined and work so hard and are willing to suffer everything in order to provide a better life for their families. His story and his perspective have helped me broaden my perspective and have a greater compassion for others.
No city given

My parents and I arrived to the U.S with a visitor’s visa. My grandfather was facing some serious times and my mother was 19 years old and not seeing her dad for 18 years decided to visit him. My dad was 22 and I was 1 year old! My mother tells me their intention was never to stay, but they did. It has been 19 years and I was excited when they passed the act where students could get a legal temporary stay ,DACA (deferred action for children arrivals). After all this time of feeling in the shadows and not really living “free” I went to see lawyers who could help me apply, but I couldn’t because I visited my grandmother in Mexico for 7 months. Since I couldn’t apply for the DACA my parents got me into an arranged marriage. At first i agreed but once I thought about it I changed my mind but it didn’t matter. They took me into the office and I got married. I was manipulated in several was into doing so. What hurts the most is that not even seeing me crying did they not go through with it. But I didn’t apply for my papers through my husband. I got the courage to stand my ground and not care about the consequences and even though people tell me ” you’re already married just do it” I say no. It is not right! I’m filling for divorce! And if there is no solution to my situation. I’m going back to Mexico. Starting fresh and trusting god! I’m 20 years old now, I’m waiting until my 26 birthday to make my final choice. Some people forget that the constitution of the United States starts with “We the people …” not “We the American Citizens”

I came here when I was 3 years old. I’m currently 16. Everyone else in my family that is here with me is legal. Everyone but me. I’m close to finishing high school… too close. I love America, this is my home, but this is no way to live. I didn’t choose to be here, they did… and now I’ll have to deal with the consequences.I just want to go to college, study medicine and save lives. Is that too much to ask for? I just want to belong here, I want to be an American citizen.
Lost Dreamer
Somewhere within America

I came to America from United Kingdom London in 2005 for a holiday. I was 18 years old at the time I got a 3 months visa waiver, I had no plans staying over my visa but faith had its own plans. I meet guy and we married in 2007. We continued living together till we went to a lawyer and advised me to go back to England as that’s the only way for my hubby to apply a petition for me. Meanwhile we took his advice I came back to UK so when he tried to process for me the petition we found out that I have ban for 10 years as I overstayed my visa more than 1 year.

My story starts in Haiti 1978. My mom was only 15 and pregnant. My dad 22. My dad left me and my mom and came to America for a better life. When I was about 7months old my mom decided to let my aunt take me to America under a different name. When I came to America I was passed around with no status or papers. My father later became a U.S. Citizen and never applied for me. I am now 35yrs old and I don’t know any other country but here! And I don’t have enough money to fix my situation either I feel lost.

I was brought here when I was 10 years old. I am now 28yrs old. I went to elementary, middle and high school. I have three daughters with my fiance. He is a U.S citizen born in California. He wants to apply for my residency here, but we are scared that because I was brought here illegally they could send me back to El Salvador. I have been working as a Medical Assistant for 8 yrs and started taking courses at a local college to get my nursing degree. We want to get marry but we don’t know if USCIS will sent me back.
Wheaton, MD

I came to the U.S. when I was 7 years old. My stepfather was an american soldier who married my German mother in Germany and also adopted me before we entered the U.S. My mother passed away in 1968 and told me I was a citizen. Being a young girl and not knowing what credentials that were needed to get government benefits for Medicare and monthly Social Security payouts for later after all my husband and I have paid into the system since age 16. We have been married for 48 years. My husband is an American citizen, born in Tx.
Presently Homeland is supposed to look up my history in the U.S and finding info on permanent resident and citizenship through my mother. I was 18 when she received her citizenship. It has been 2 years that Homeland has had my info filled out by Catholic family services. I also applied for my permanent resident card. I really don’t care at this point which one they send but it has been one year for the green card and everything is at a standstill for both applications. What does a person do with this Obama care? I am over 65 and cannot get Medicare through Obama and private insurance is very expensive!
Marianne White
Amarillo Tx

I’m married a wonderful citizen American for 8 years, live together for 10 years, but we are living out of states since 2004 due to visa denied. The reason is ” sham divorce for immigration” from consulate officer…for 10 years my husband never go back to USA and I’m so scared to go to US consulate to interview for visa (for any kind of visa). I just feel so sorry for my husband. He could not see his parents for longtime… because we love each other so much no matter what we stay…but still…feel so sad and don’t know what to do next.
Ho Chi Minh City

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