58 letters on the American Dream from San Marcos University students, San Diego, California, USA
letter 33: Natalie

1. My parents emigrated from Oaxaca, Mexico to California in the late 1980’s. My father was able to immigrate here years before because of his citizenship. Although he was born in Mexico, he was an American citizen thorough his father. My grandfather is an Irish-American whose parents lived in Palm Springs, California; he would be the one to immigrate into Mexico. My parents wanted to immigrate to the United States because they wanted to have a better life. At that time Oaxaca was experiencing a lot of Teacher-Government fighting, and my parents thought it would be better to raise a family where they would have better chances of succeeding in life. I don’t know of any other reason for selecting California other than it was the closest state to them, although the high population of Mexican immigrants may have provided them with hope that it was possible to survive here.

I believe that only once in my life I have experienced racial discrimination. When I was in Kindergarten, I was placed in the Spanish speaking class, even though I was bilingual and could speak English as well as any other “white” child. I did not think of it as a big deal, until I realized that they only taught me in Spanish and no other language. Perhaps they incorporated some English in, I do not remember, but what I do remember were the differences in supplies that were provide in the English-speaking class than in the Spanish-speaking class. While the children in the English-speaking class were able to hatch eggs and raise them, my class received lectures all day. Perhaps it was not intended as discrimination, but that is much of a discrimination that I have experienced. Due to my light skin, many people do not believe that I am Hispanic.

2. The image, to me, is a very strong, true image, yet a somewhat false image. While many Hispanics do in fact leave their roots and come alone or with their families to the United States, it is not as easy as the picture makes it seem, a passage with an open gate. Additionally, many immigrants’ expectations of life in the United States are not meet. There is a lot of suffering involved with surviving in a foreign country, especially with the rising reforms on Illegal Immigration laws.