44 years ago my parents and I arrived in Miami, I was 4 years old at the time. About a year after that we moved to Staten Island, NY where some of my father's family lived. A month later my father was dead, leaving my mother a single parent, uneducated and unable to speak the English language. We had arrived on tourist visas from Honduras. My father was from one of the bay islands in Honduras where English is the primary language, he taught me how to speak English even before we arrived in the US, of course without knowing that his life would be cut short by cancer. Since my mother was not familiar with the laws of the country our visas eventually expired and we became undocumented. My childhood was filled with extreme uncertainty and fear. My mother did not have the skills to support us and the fear of being caught by immigration made things that much worse. We moved about 14 times between NY and New Jersey. Despite moving around so much and not having a stable place to live I managed to survive and graduated high school. Needless to say my life has not been easy, I am a survivor, tough as nails and learned to be very resourceful. I always felt that I was American, maybe even more so than those born here. My life path could have gone by the way side but instead I have been able to forge a career that I love, and as I look back at my life and the choices I have made it makes me proud to admit to having been an illegal alien. Unlike some of the stories I have read, mine goes back more than 4 decades during an era when it was easier to remain under the radar, we were able to get an education, work and even get a driver’s license. I received my green card not too long after President Reagan's administration passed the amnesty bill, and 5 years after that I officially became a US Citizen (although in my heart I have always been an American). I know the fears and uncertainty that the undocumented youth of today are going through because I lived it. I also know that the vast majority of them the United States of America is the ONLY home they have ever known.
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