From Ciudad Juarez to the city of Chicago
As a child coming from one of Mexico’s largest cities at the age of 1 with her parents and two older siblings, Yamileth has yet to step foot in her native country. Yamileth’s family fled to the north suburbs of Chicago to escape one of Mexico’s highest crime rating city as it is known for drug and human trafficking. Yamileth who is now 20 years old was always aware of her legal status in the United States and practiced many times what do if she found herself in a situation with law enforcement. She explained, “It was fairly confusing and scary, the thought of never coming home to my family again. But I always practiced with my siblings what to do and attending school with them made it that much easier because my plan was always to find them”. As the years went on Yamileth always knew she wanted to further her education after graduating High School but was discouraged and worried that her legal status would not allow her to accomplish her goals. But sure enough dreams became a reality. In 2014 she received her Notice of Approval from USCIS for her Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA), at 15 her fear and anxiety of telling someone her legal status, walking home, going to public events, running errands or going to a friends house, disappeared. Yamileth and her family found joy, comfort and excitement of what was in store for the future as DACA protected them from deportation. Being side by side with her peers and applying to different colleges and Universities, Yamileth explained “that right there felt like the American dream, the freedom to shape your future.” For many leaving their country it is a sacrifice one has to make to create a better life and as she smiles Yamileth says “was one of the best decisions ever made by my parents. I am now a full-time student at Robert Morris University in the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society chasing my masters. Everytime I think of HACES and the process of becoming a DREAMer I shed a tear of happiness because I know I would not have the same opportunity anywhere else. HACES is home, the United States is home – it’s all I’ve known since the age of 1.”
Yamileth encourages DREAMers during this time to speak out and share their experiences because it is not easy but no one goes through anything alone.