Grizzly Gazette

Build Bridges not Borders

My Journey as an Immigrant- Part One of Three

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Build Bridges not Borders

The reporter Alondra Castro today. (Nov 28, 2018)

The reporter Alondra Castro today. (Nov 28, 2018)

Christopher Cornejo

The reporter Alondra Castro today. (Nov 28, 2018)

Christopher Cornejo

Christopher Cornejo

The reporter Alondra Castro today. (Nov 28, 2018)

Alondra Castro, Staff Writer

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From the time I was 3-years-old, when I arrived in the U.S., I knew that I was “illegal.”

I remember the night before we left for the “other side.” My brothers and I slept with our shoes on to get a head start in the morning. At the break of dawn my two brothers, the oldest five, the youngest, a tender one-year-old, and my mom embarked on a life-changing journey.

As we headed for the airport I remember the feeling of sadness that overcame me when I realized it would be a long time before I saw my homeland again.

Before we left home everyone wished us good luck, almost as if they expected the worst. My mother was brave.

And my father tried to remain strong, but his face showed sadness as he hugged his family goodbye, not knowing when we would be together again.

After a week-long journey from my home in Morelia, Michoacan, we finally arrived to Anaheim, California.

Now, I was proud. I understood that I went through an incredible journey which was also traveled by many but I somehow felt unique.

This place was beautiful. I remember seeing the number 55 plastered everywhere, all across Anaheim I saw the number 55. I now know it was because it was the 55th anniversary, at the time, of the famous Disneyland, the happiest place on earth. Every kid wanted to be there, not me. I felt like I was already in the happiest place on earth, the U.S.A.

The experience was fun but I began to miss home. I missed all that I knew.

Despite meeting my mother’s side of the family, who had already established themselves in this country, without my father, my family was incomplete. I missed him.

As a child, this separation was difficult to understand, and in turn, was difficult to deal with.

“no se puede, hija, no tenemos papeles. We can’t, we don’t have papers,””

— my mother said

I asked my mother why we couldn’t just go back for a quick visit then come back to our new home, she replied, “no se puede, hija, no tenemos papeles. We can’t, we don’t have papers,” she said.

Now I understood. I completely understood why my family back home was so sad to see us leave. It was not going to be as easy as I thought. Now, I understood, I was not an American.

I knew that my being in this country was wrong. I had not yet begun to establish myself, or discover who I was, yet I knew that I was a criminal.

Imagine,  a child, who had not yet experienced the things that made life beautiful, knowing that her presence was against the law.

As the years went by, my mother worked to establish my family in this new country.

My mother, being the hard worker that she is, managed three young kids, a job, and even went to school to learn the language and continue to receive higher education. Her hard work made it easier for my brothers and I to live a “normal” life.

As I advanced in school, I began to see how difficult building a better life for myself would be as an undocumented student.

From early in my school career, college was encouraged by our teachers and counselors, so much that it almost seemed like a guarantee, it was motivating, knowing that every one of us could make it there.

Still, I was scared. The next day in this country was never a guarantee. My family could be deported at any moment if anyone should find out our secret.

This is part one of a series of Ms. Castro’s immigration story.

11 Comments

11 Responses to “Build Bridges not Borders”

  1. Ky-Anh Ho on November 29th, 2018 6:21 pm

    Your story brings so many different emotions into play, but more importantly shows hope. I’m so proud of you and the fact that you are able to tell your story. You’re strong. It’s scary to have those thoughts at such a young age, but the fact that you managed to persevere through the years is incredible. I’m also proud of your mother for doing the world for her children, working countless hours just for a better future. I can’t wait for the progression of this series.
    P.S. わたしは、あなたを愛しています

  2. Vanessa on December 3rd, 2018 9:13 am

    I believe it’s really brave for you to make yourself vulnerable like this so that you can tell your story to everyone. It’s really encouraging to see that we’re not alone and I can’t wait until the next part 🙂

  3. Robert Morgan on December 3rd, 2018 9:14 am

    I am always amazed at those students that are overcoming difficult situations and being successful. Great story.

  4. Marlen on December 3rd, 2018 9:18 am

    I think that your story is very heartbreaking. It must be hard for you to have to deal with the kind of stress, not knowing what will happen. You are very strong and brave for this.

  5. Alexis on December 3rd, 2018 9:20 am

    Your story is inspiring, especially the part about your mom building a better life for you all. It is quite amazing to see such a brave young, lady share a piece of her story.

  6. Daniela R. on December 3rd, 2018 1:23 pm

    This was really good.

  7. Mr. Church on December 13th, 2018 10:21 am

    I am really proud of you and your courage. I can’t wait for you to come back to Godinez to share your story how fun and exciting is/was for you. THINK Godinez!

  8. Lupita on January 29th, 2019 12:09 pm

    Talking about your story like that is very inspirational because other people wouldn’t dare talk about there story. I think her story is very eminent for other people because she could inspire undocumented people to strive for greatness. Ms. Castro is a very intrepid person to talk about her journey of crossing the border. I think other people will no longer be scared and reticent to talk about their story.

  9. Cynthia Salazar on January 29th, 2019 12:23 pm

    Cynthia Salazar
    January 29, 2019
    It takes a great deal of courage to share such a personal story, and the courage shown is laudable. This story elicits strong feelings of inspiration because it shows that being an immigrant shouldn’t limit a person from striving for more. The paucity of tolerance and acceptance showed towards those who risk their lives in hopes of finding a better life can cause feelings of distress, but you have shown that it is possible to overcome such hostilities.

  10. Natalie 01/29/18 on January 29th, 2019 6:36 pm

    Alondra, I’m truly inspired by your story. Immigrants face a plethora of challenges when they arrive to their long-awaited destination. Several Americans believe in the stereotype that immigrants from Mexico are felons, but this is not the case for the majority of Mexican immigrants. I admire the actions of intrepid immigrants for choosing to leave their home country to seek better opportunities for themselves and their families. For example, numerous immigrants who are parents wish to relocate to the United States to enhance their children’s education, environment, etc. It is quite ironic that America is perceived to be the “Land of Opportunity” when the government or I.C.E deports thousands of immigrants daily, preventing them from achieving the American Dream.

  11. Marisol Ruiz on January 29th, 2019 6:51 pm

    01/29/19
    Reading your story made very emotional because of what you and your family are going through. You’re very intrepid for putting your story on here and letting us read your journey to get to the U.S. From what I read you seemed precocious and basically perceived at a young age what was happening. You’re grateful for your mom for taking such a big risk and even when she came here with you guys, she is very hardworking taking care of her kids even if your dad couldn’t come with you guys.

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