Hello to everyone...I was born in Colombia, when I was 3 my family and I moved to the states legally so my dad could pursue his education. My parents' idea wasn't to stay more than a few years but after my dad finished his masters, he went on to his PhD. I grew up in the United States, to me it was my home. I remember taking trips to Colombia but never realized that it was for our visa renewals and that at anytime they could have been denied which would have been life changing. When I graduated high school is when reality sunk in...I wasn't allowed to call this place my home. While all my friends went off the college, I was left behind feeling like a prisoner of my life. I realized how limited I was to just living...I have always been a dependent whether it has been under a J2 or F2 visa. As a dependent I wasn't able to work, I wasn't able to go to school full-time. I felt lost and so alone because I was the only one of my friends to be going through this. I eventually got a work permit and started to work, instead of going to school full-time I took classes part-time at a community college. I realized that if I applied for an F1 visa it would restrict me to work even more and it would become harder to maintain my work permit. Without work how was I supposed to live? My family and I have always suffered with money problems, as much immigrants do in the United States. I was the girl who paid to support herself and her family in any possible way. When I was 20 with help from the international office from a local college, I applied for an F1 visa, I wanted to go to school...in fact that's all that I've ever wanted to do. I had an F-2 visa that expired in August of that year, I applied for my visa in January of that year...and then I turned 21 in June. I got a response the following year, finally, stating that I was in violation of my status because when I turned 21, my dependent visa was no longer valid. In other words, I became an illegal status. When I recieved the letter not only did it hurt to read the words "you should have left the country June 2" (the day after my 21st birthday), but it was a slap in the face saying I wasn't good enough to call this place my home. I made a decision right then and there, I decided I wasnt going to stay illegally, I decided not to let the system break me down, nor was I about to spend more money on the same system, I was so sick and tired that I decided to pack up and leave the states. My dad had moved back to Colombia 6 years before and was living well in Bogota, so I decided to move down there with him. It was so hard to have to pack up my life in the states in three big suitcases, say good-bye to my friends who had been like my family, and leave my mom. On the flight from Florida to Bogota, I cried. I knew that this would be good for me, and I would be able to see what was in store for me in Colombia, I never intended to stay in Colombia...in fact I planned on using this time to travel and learn. But then after a few months of seeing family members and being with my dad, he offered me to stay and he told me he was able to pay for a good college education for me. Without even thinking about it, I decided to stay and started going to school. I now study Political Science and am so happy living in Colombia. Although the transition has been hard, I left like a foreigner in the states and I feel like one here. It has been amazingly hard to be so far from my friends and my mom. I've come to realize that the unwritten rule of turning 21 that violated my status has its punishment...I'm now one of those immigrants who has become barred from the United States because I spend 120 days in violation of my status all because I turned 21. Tomorrow is my two year anniversary of being in Colombia...one year from tomorrow my "3 year bar" will be lifted. Does it sound ridiculous to anyone else that a country can ban a human being, a decent human being with good morals and good intentions, from a place they once called home? Ive come to realize that the idea of borders, of flags, such immigration systems...is completely obsurd in a way. Why is it that a group of people have the right to tell me NO you cannot study here, NO you cannot work here, NO you cannot call this place your home...We are all citizens of this world.
I plan to stay in Colombia to finish my college degree and when I finish hopefully I will move on a masters degree in the states or canada. Next year when my "bar" is removed I plan on finally going "home" to see my mom and friends. I hate knowing that there are so many people like me who have suffered in the same way for the same reasons...for not being born here or not having the money to move on up...I wish people could understand how difficult this process is and how it affects us in so many different ways.
Keep the Dream alive!!!! I have all the confidience in the world that the act will go through...sooner or later. Even if it is later when it no longer affects us, it will help the future generations from this suffering. Spread the word, and never give up. Like they say, it always has to get worse before it gets better...Write your senators, and all government officials to keep the Dream Act alive.