The Independent Student Newspaper of Northern Kentucky University.

Finding hope and security: Give me your tired and your poor

February 21, 2017

Four walls.

One bath.

One stove.

And a family of two.

Pedro and his mother lived in a single room in Mexico City.

When he turned two, his father fled to the U.S. with only one visa; he was desperate to find employment to take care of his family.  

Following his footsteps, Pedro and his mother received their visas and crossed into the U.S. three years later.

Despite their visas expiring, Pedro’s family stayed in the United States for a better quality of life and to continue Pedro’s education.

He never saw himself as inferior to other students until high school. Pedro said he has always considered America “the land of opportunity.”

“We all went to school together and did the Pledge of Allegiance together,” Pedro said. “Weren’t we all just the same?”

Throughout his childhood, Pedro was bullied and teased for his skin color.

Pedro said students and faculty at his school targeted him and said he would not be as successful as his peers. He remembered students in his class telling him he could only work low income jobs.

I figured out I wasn’t like my classmates,” Pedro said.

“They were American … I was undocumented.”

Pedro said his family never talked about their status from the fear of being harassed or forced to leave. He said he would hide his culture to fit in with his community.

“It was to survive,” Pedro said. “I wanted to look like the others, to fit in.”

In 2015, Pedro applied for DACA, and received a driver’s license and a temporary social security card, which allowed him to both drive and apply to college.

“Without DACA, I don’t know where I would be,” Pedro said. “It’s my chance to show how successful I can be.”

For Pedro, NKU is an atmosphere of tolerance. He can speak up and feel just as validated as any other student.

“I was hushed for telling my story, but now it’s time to be strong and share my hardships,” Pedro said.

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