Students share immigration stories
Brittany VanSnepson | Monday, March 29, 2010
La Fuerza, the Saint Mary’s club that represents Latina culture, hosted Immigration Monologues Thursday as a part of Action Week. Club president Cristina Posadas began the lecture by addressing six myths commonly associated with immigrants.
She said the myths are that immigrants do not want to learn English, do not pay taxes, increase crime rates, take jobs away from Americans, drain the economy and are a burden on the health care system.
Posadas said she hopes by promoting the Development, Relief and Education of Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, people will become more aware of the potential of undocumented immigrants.
“This would provide a pass to legal status so they can go to college, get careers and contribute to society,” Posadas said.
A group of students from Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, Holy Cross and Indiana University South Bend (IUSB) helped make up the panel that addressed the issues of immigrations they personally faced.
Panel member Felix Marquez, an IUSB student, shared his own story of how he was forced to leave El Salvador after he was recruited by the military at age 16.
“[The military] said they were going to make me into a man and I’d go represent my country,” Marquez said.
Marquez said his mother had other ideas and sent him to the United States where he would not be forced into a war she did not support. Upon his arrival in the United States in 1990, Marquez said he has learned English and was the first of his family members to attain a high school degree.
Notre Dame freshman Luis Huerta was born a citizen of the United States to illegal immigrant parents. As result, Huerta’s family was forced to move multiple times and suffer in poverty.
At age 5, Huerta said he remembers his teacher saying he would amount to nothing because of his parents’ social standing in life. He said that moment would inspire him to denying his cultural heritage for many years.
“It wasn’t until high school that I was finally able to be proud of my heritage,” Huerta said.
Huerta is currently pursuing a degree from Notre Dame alongside his mother, who is hoping to earn a degree in management.
“I just want people to know that anything is possible here in the United States, it just takes time,” Huerta said.