Hi, folks,

This is another post in my American Dream series. This week I am handing over the reins to a former student who beat all the odds. She crossed the border mojada (i.e., wet), did great in high school, and was an even better student in college. She is an illegal immigant, though, and she has a great story to tell. I will let her say it in her own words.

See you all next week.



My name is Angie Sanchez, I’m 22 years old and I am an illegal immigrant. I arrived from México 13 years ago, from the state of Zacatecas. I was born in a small-rural town with a population of about 800 people. My story is about my experience crossing the border as a young child, my early education and my struggle trying to obtain a college education as an illegal immigrant. My reason for doing it is so that people gain an understanding of some of the struggles that people of my status face when trying to obtain an education.

Crossing the Border

I was 9 years old when my family and I left Zacatecas. I had to cross the border illegally because we could not wait any longer to be with my dad. If we would’ve waited for the proper documentation we would have waited for years. My mom could not wait for years because she missed my dad and because she did not want us to grow up without him. It was enough that my dad had not been there for my first day of school, my first musical program, my first everything; she wanted for things to be different for my 3 year old sister, who he had only seen him twice! She also wanted for us to have a better future academically and economically. And grow up as a family.

I still remember that cool February morning as if it was yesterday. I woke up at five o’clock in the morning; I was very excited because I was going to the United States and although I was very young I knew that my life was going to change forever. I don’t think I had ever been so excited about wearing a new dress, but that day was different. My grandma told my mom and me that we had to dress nice so that the border patrol would think that we were in fact just visiting Mexico and we were returning home. As I was saying my goodbyes and everyone was crying I thought to myself, why are they being so sentimental I will be back soon? Little did I know! When I said good bye to my great-grandma she said something that has stuck with me since that morning, she said, “Come back home soon,” but soon has turned into 13 years. We left for the airport with tears in our eyes. The thought, however, the thought of seeing dad dried our tears quickly.

Our destination was Santa Ana, California, and from there we were going to fly to Chicago, which was where my dad resided. However since we were illegal we could not fly direct so we had to cross through Tijuana in a family van. It was around ten in the morning when we arrived. My grandma and grandpa were traveling with us, but since they were US residents they were being picked by my uncle and were going back to Santa Ana. We on the other hand had to be crossed by Coyotes.

To be continued…

Cross-posted at My Ongoing Struggle with Misanthropy: http://jimmygabacho.com/?p=682

About the Author

Jimmy Gabacho

Gabacho– according to the Dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy– is derived from an old Provençal word “gavach,” meaning a person from the foothills of the Pyrenees who spoke incorrectly. These days, it means “outsider,” somebody who just doesn’t fit in.

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