My name is Meztli, which means moon in Nahutl, the Aztec language. I was born in El Distrito Federal, Mexico on September of 1991. In April of 1992 I was brought to the United States of America; I was six months old and for the past 26 years, Chicago has been the only home I’ve ever known.
In recent years, I have been allowed to stay here only because of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which is now threatened.
I grew up in the north side of Chicago, attended Inter-American Magnet School and Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center. I am a product of the Chicago Public School System. I graduated from North Park University with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and psychology and currently am in the Dual Degree program at North Park Theological Seminary.
By God’s grace, I will be done with my Master in Business Administration with a concentration in International Business this May as I continue to take classes to complete the Master of Divinity. While going to school, I currently work as a registered behavior technician with kids who are on the autism spectrum.
I fear, however, that when I finish my degree program, I may not be able to cross the stage and be handed my diploma because graduation is in May 2019, but my DACA permit expires five months earlier in Jan 2019.
Growing up, I would have never imagined that I was ‘illegal’ and ‘unwanted.’
When I turn on the news or sit in class with fellow students – who like most people assume that because of my good English and education I am a US-born Mexican-American – I have to hear that I am not welcomed in this country. I hear that I should be deported. I hear that I am not a contribution to this country. Rather, I am a criminal.
Growing up, I would have never imagined that I was “illegal” and “unwanted.” It was not until the age of 16 that I realized I was very different from a lot of the kids I went to school with. That was when I learned I could not drive or work legally in this country like all the other kids.
I became afraid of making any tiny mistake because it might lead to me being deported and then I would never again see my parents or siblings. Even though I am 26 years old, I have not seen many of my family members. I have not seen my paternal grandmother, I didn’t get to say goodbye to my grandfather when he passed, and I have not been able to meet many of my cousins.
Sometimes it gets lonely. It is especially hard during the holidays when everyone is surrounded by family, but I’m thankful for those in the church that have become part of my family. I am grateful for being able to work with awesome families where I get to love on kids and share Jesus with them.
Yes, I am afraid of what might happen to me, but that fear does not come close to the part of me that believes and trusts in God, who has not left me nor failed me.
I am thankful for my parents who have made huge sacrifices to put me through school so that I could earn a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees with no debt. (The reality is that many dreamers do not carry student debt because all expenses are out-of-pocket).
I am not a financial burden. Yes, I pay taxes. No, I do not live off of the government. I go through extensive background checks to be able to work and contribute to my community. That means I have no felony convictions, no misdemeanors, and I do not pose a threat to national security or public safety.
The Mexican Soccer team’s motto is “Somos Guerreros” which translates to “We Are Warriors.” There are times I feel like I am fighting an uphill battle, I have missed out on many opportunities because I am not a U.S resident/citizen yet I am blessed and grateful to be in this country and to be able to contribute to this nation’s economy. It is my home.
A verse that gets me through tough times is Psalms 28:7
The Lord is my strength and my shield;
my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy,
and with my song I praise him.
There is no fear or worry that God doesn’t understand. Yes, I am afraid of what might happen to me, but that fear does not come close to the part of me that believes and trusts in God, who has not left me nor failed me. He is a God who has loved me despite my illegal status and has granted me the ability to achieve everything that I have so far. I owe it all to him.