Maria G. was brought to the United States by her parents at the age of three from Sinaloa, Mexico. Maria and her two younger siblings grew up in Golden Hills, California. “During the early 2000’s, border security was less intense.” She remembers visiting Mexico when she was 8 years old when her parents found a way to visit family and return to the US through the Port of Entry without documentation.
“I remember being in our hometown at our grandma’s house. I remember leaving her house with some neighborhood kids to play at a birthday party that I was not even invited to. I got into so much trouble.” Maria has very little memories of Sinaloa, Mexico. All her memories are of her life in the United States.
Maria grew up with no knowledge of her undocumented status until the age of 13. Maria’s school offered students an opportunity to attend a class trip to Washington, D.C. She was excited she would be visiting a different city other than Los Angeles, California. She remembers coming home and sharing the news about the school trip with her parents. Maria shared with her parents the opportunity, and Maria’s parents knew it was time to explain to her what she would face for the rest of her life, her undocumented status. She felt confused about what was being said by her parents. Up until that point, all Maria knew about life was through her experiences in the United States, just like all her friends. Maria felt devastated that she could not attend the school trip because of something she did not choose for herself. Despite these feelings, she always knew her parents were doing the best they could for her.
She kept it secret from friends because she feared what they might think of her. It was challenging for her to think what would come next after graduating high school.
“There were times where I would think about what I would do after finishing high school. Will I find a good job?”
Having these thoughts, Maria started to notice details about the teachers in her school. “My high school experience was interesting. I experienced teachers prioritizing my white classmates. I did not feel comfortable and switched high schools.”
After switching schools, her interest in her studies increased. She began to enjoy going to school, although in the back her mind, her thoughts about her future were unsure.
Maria has grown up with two very supportive parents. They have been with her through all her experiences as a young lesbian woman. Latino culture has a past of being homophobic towards the LGBTQ community. Maria feels she’s been blessed for having understanding parents.
“I know some friends who have been kicked out for being gay, I’m grateful that my experience coming out was nothing like that.”
Maria has been interested in volunteering at The San Diego LGBT Center and get involved with mental health issues, but her time currently is devoted to working two jobs and keeping track of her bills.
“It is hard to keep 2 jobs and also go to school, I had to drop out in order to not fall into exhaustion.”
Through her parent's support, Maria was able to obtain DACA in 2013. She has renewed her DACA status three times since being accepted in the program.
“Going through the process of applying for the first time was hard. Having to find documents you don’t remember having taken a while, especially the documents required from Mexico.”
Maria has been able to support her basic needs by obtaining DACA status. Getting her drivers license, bank account and fulfilling one of her longtime goals, getting her first car although it has been challenging for Maria to continue her studies and become a veterinary technician. Maria hopes to return to school shortly to pursue her passion and dream of becoming a vet technician.