It deeply hurts me to know that despite being a productive member in society, with an admirable reputation and with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work, I am not authorized to work in the U.S. This I believe: immigration laws should change. I strongly believe I am worthy of the opportunity to become a legal resident of this country. This I believe: my dedication, determination, persistence, etc. are not enough for my professional growth. I am lacking opportunity and the U.S government can grant it to me by allowing me to adjust my migratory status. Indeed, my immigration status is a barrier that constantly hunts me, holds me back, and thus provoking distress in my daily life.
After graduated from high school in ‘99, all I wanted and cared for was to pursuit a career in Mathematics but later turnout to social work. At times, I felt like giving up because I kept hearing that I was wasting my time and money because I was not going to be able to work even with a degree. I managed to I ignored negative comments because I believed they were lies, so I remained optimistic and kept going. I questioned myself many times: is it worth it? My family was proud of me because I was going to be the first in the family to have a degree.
Being an undocumented immigrant with limited opportunities did not hold me back from pursuing a career. I knew it was going to require a lot of sacrifice and it did; in fact; alcoholism in the family, my father’s deportation, working full-time and part-time jobs and attending school part-time increased the tension in my student life.
In May 2008 I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Northeastern Illinois University and I am very proud of it. I always continued with the hope I would come across with someone who would help me. What a deception when I learned that the comments I heard for years were true: I am not able to work because I am an undocumented immigrant.
After completing the social work internship in the Spring 2008 semester, by facilitating group meetings, I learned that social work direct practice is my passion. Working with the former incarcerated population at St. Leonard’s House provided with so much learning from beginning to end. Clients had the desire to change their lifestyle and with the opportunity St. Leonard’s House gave them, the majority was able to reintegrate successfully into society. I am looking forward to dedicating myself full-time to social services; please help me make it happen.
I have been working as a sales agent at a cellular store for five years and it is very frustrating for me to accept this reality: I have to work in non-social services environments despite feeling confident I can make a great social worker.