America is rich with history: A history with many stories, the immigrants’ included. America is the primus inter pares (first among equals)among nations and superordinate in many respects, and therefore has been the object of my fascination—as a child, and to this day. I am a first generation immigrant living in the United States, with diverse and rich stories—or experiences. Unlike the United States’, my diverse immigrant stories have been stereotyped, caricatured, and condensed into a single story by cable news and talk show pundits and beltway politicians in the hope of securing ratings and votes.
I dreamt up my future in America. I dreamt of possibilities, of freedom, and of self-actualization, which for me was only attainable in America. For me, America was no mythical El Dorado; it is an existential and essential reality.
The blatant intolerance for new non-European immigrants confounded me. I was left heart broken and jilted. I found myself asking: where is my America, the America that promised a refuge for a “tired…poor…huddled masses,” like me, “yearning to breathe free”?
I was too afraid to press charges for fear of being deported. As an undocumented immigrant, fear ruled me; fear of reporting abuses and getting deported. There are many other stories of abuse, which this short narrative cannot accommodate, but through it all in a typical immigrant fashion, I persevered.
I later enlisted in the United States Navy because I wanted to join in the effort to defeat the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11.
I suffered a lot of injustices as an undocumented immigrant. Contrary to popular beliefs, I did not receive treatments equal to an America citizen or permanent resident. I was paid $3.00/hr. doing menial jobs, which was way below minimum wage, and I worked 16 hrs. a day for four years. I suffered abuses.
The immigrant story is my story. The single story as told by the media and partisan politicians is incomplete.