While My Mami and Papi Are Finally “Legal”, No Human Being is Illegal

Ya levantense corazones, ya son las 5 de la mañana”, my mami said con nervios. I got up as soon as I heard her voice to see my papi ya listo. I got ready in about 20 minutes, and of course, I was the last one to be ready. Ya listos todos, overdressed and all, we were finally on our way to the Chatsworth United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS). On our way there, our conversation consisted of hypothetical scenarios. What would we do if they did not pass? “Si Dios y la Virgencita quiere, todo los va ir bien.” My mom had said that all week that the day of my parent’s immigration interview, she sounded like a broken record. My Mexican mami couldn’t help it, but to put her faith to la Virgencita and God. I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself “religious”, but that week, I constantly found myself asking Tonantzin for strength.

We got to the USCIS center fairly early, the building complex was not even open. An officer shortly stepped out of the building and told my family and I to form a line with the others who were waiting outside. We stepped into the building and a different, not-so-nice officer gave us instructions. To put into perspective his rudeness, he nearly made my little sister cry. We followed protocol, and then we were directed to be seated. At that moment, we waited anxiously for my parent’s number to be called. “K2, K2” the person whom would decide whether they pass their residency interview, called. Quickly, persine mi mami y papi. My younger sister persino my older brother, since he, too, had to go to the interview since he was their sponsor.

My sister and I waited for approximately 15 minutes in the lobby, until we saw my parents and older brother walk out with a smile that literally lit up the room. It wasn’t until my mami and papi approached us with hugs that they all burst into tears. I could hear the “aws” behind us, it was truly a special moment.

After 25 years, something that we only dreamed of was finally a reality. As a family, it is safe to say, that we instantly felt a weight come off our shoulders. As previously stated, it is not easy to just become “legal”. It is an endless, tiresome process. My parents’ struggles are a testimony of that. My mami and papi are finally “legal”, but note that no human being is illegal, regardless of their immigration status.

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Rocio Rivera-Murillo

Rocio Rivera-Murillo

Rocio Rivera-Murillo is a Chicana born and raised in the San Fernando Valley. She is the daughter of two hardworking, immigrant parents who left everything in Mexico in hopes of achieving the "American Dream". One of her main goals in life is to be able to repay her parents for everything that they have done for her. Rocio is a proud product of LAUSD schools. She was fortunate enough to find her passion for advocacy in Arleta High School through her former club Dreamers United. Her fondest memory as President of Dreamers United was rallying in support of the implementation of Ethnic Studies as an A-G requirement in LAUSD on November 18, 2014. Because of the struggles she saw her parents endure, her drive to help others was ignited early on in her life. Rocio, a first-generation, low income, college student, is passionate about her community, advocating on behalf of the voiceless, education and mentoring other students. She is a full-time student, double majoring in Sociology and Chicana/o Studies at California State University Northridge.

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