Imprisoned in the "Land of Freedom"

[This week’s guest DREAM Act guest post is written by Frida, an undocumented young immigrant from Miami, Florida. Visit to find out how you can help pass the DREAM Act and give students like Frida an opportunity to contribute to this country].

The United States, the land of freedom, is the land that my parents envisioned; they wanted me to be free to fulfill my dreams. My parents and I decided that it would be better for me to be in this country because of the opportunities it offers. I am living in this “land of freedom,” but I do not feel free; I am imprisoned by the fear of being deported and the frustration of not being able to accomplish many dreams because of my legal status, but I do not let these feelings get the best of me.

Within my first year in this country, my dad passed away, and my brother moved to another state because of work. I felt angry and cheated, and not just because the dream of having my family together could never become true, but because education has always been very important for me.

Not being able to pursue a higher education because of my economic and legal situation was depressing. Since I did not have the means to become an international student, I became an “illegal alien” for overstaying my visa period. I was then told that I was not allowed to study or work. I could not go back to the country where I was born because my family was here, Ironically, I felt trapped in this land of freedom.

My life in the US has not been easy, but I have not let this get the best of me. Even though my life might seem gloomy, I try to keep the candle of hope lit. Instead of focusing on the negative things that were happening to me, I decided to focus on the good ones. After all, I am in the country where millions of people would love to be. My mom, sister and brother are alive and supporting me. I am smart, and to learn I need only access to books. I knew that after graduating from high school I would not be able to attend university because of my economic status, but I still worked hard in school. Finally, I was able to learn English within a year of being in the United States, and graduated high school with honors. I did not attend college until the middle of 2007, when I found Miami Dade Honors College. This institution took me in, and gave me a scholarship regardless of my illegal status and economic situation. This let me keep hoping and dreaming, and thanks to it I am still here trying to achieve my dreams.

One thing I have come to realize is that where there is a will, there is a way. Therefore, I keep dreaming and working hard to accomplish my dreams, even though I find many obstacles in my way. I feel tied up because of the limitations of my economic and legal status in this country, but I try to fly as high as my chains let me. Because I know I can accomplish great things, I do not get discouraged by the negative situations that surround me, but instead try to see beyond them.

(Photo Credit: wallyg’s photostream)

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