Trip reveals eighth grader’s immigration status

By KATY FLORES

KANSAS CITY, MO — As years pass by, being a legal citizen is becoming more important to have a productive life. Thousands of people cross the border from Mexico to the United States to get a better life for themselves and their families. In rare cases, some people are not aware of their legal statues until they are older. Juan Garcia, 18 year old from Guanajuato, Michoacán grew up not really knowing he had come to the United States illegally.

Garcia has been in the United States since he was a 2-year-old. He took the long bus drive from Guanajuato to Texas, were his mom picked him up. Unlike other undocumented people, Garcia traveled with his aunt half way and then with someone he didn’t know the rest. “The only reason I’m here now is because I used someone else’s papers” Garcia said.

Garcia started pre-school like any other child his age. All throughout eight-grade he thought he was born here. When his eight-grade class was going to go on a trip to Washington, he asked his parents if he could go along. When his parents said he couldn’t he was disappointed, he asked why not. His dad broke the news; he didn’t have a passport because he wasn’t from the United States. He went years without knowing he wasn’t born in the United States.

“Finding out, it hurt me inside, it made me feel different from everyone else,” he said. Yet, Garcia pushed himself to work hard. When he got to high school his first three years he worked hard for his straight A’s. “I wanted to have a high GPA so colleges can actually accept me, maybe I could have even got a scholarship” Garcia said.

When he started senior year it reality hit him, he wasn’t going to be able to get into a good collage if he had no social. He gave up hope on going to college; he stopped trying to get good grades. “It wasn’t worth it, having a good GPA, if the most I was going to get was 100 dollars. That’s why my senior year I slacked off.”

Garcia graduated with his class of 2010. With a high school diploma he is working at a factory. Garcia doesn’t think the immigration reform will help him any, he also had the chance to apply for the dream act, yet Garcia didn’t do it. “The papers aren’t going to be working I am. I’m happy how I am,” Garcia said. “I’m not getting a lot of money but I’m not starving, my stomach is never empty.”

Garcia has been out of school for two years now; he has no hope on returning either. The only way he thinks the reform will help him is by him not getting put in jail when the police stop stops him.

Garcia has a 12 year old brother he hopes takes a turn for the best. “He has a social, he has many great opportunities in front of him, and he’s an intelligent boy. I hope he becomes someone productive in society” Garcia said.

Like his brother he also had the intelligence and the skills to get far in life. He looks back and thinks if he actually had a social he would have gone to college and made something so his brother can follow. He Is still a good role model and is pushing his brother to his full potential.

“People say it’s never too hard to go back to college, to me it is too late,” Garcia said. “Everything I had learned in all my years of school is out of my head.” He would rather look for a better job that pays more than go back to school.

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