I came to the United states at the age of 12, equipped with nothing but the clothes on my back and the hope to finally see my mother again after 10 years. My grandparents raised my little sister and I in El Salvador, but I yearned to be with my family in the United States. The day arrived when I was reunited with my mother and got to meet my stepfather and little brothers for the first time.
The excitement of a new country quickly turned into fear and anxiety. The first few years were difficult because I had to go to school and learn English at the same time. I studied the lyrics of Beyoncé and Katy Perry albums and my little brothers helped tutor me to learn English. Not only did I learn English, but I graduated high school #2 in my class and was named "Salutatorian." I had dreams of going to college to be a teacher.
Those dreams of going to college came to a halt. I applied for a scholarship and the final question was "Are you a U.S. Citizen?" After I selected no, I was notified that I wouldn't be able to claim the scholarship. Later, when President Obama announced the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program I applied immediately, got approved, and started working.
I met my husband when he came to the restaurant where I was a hostess. We dated, got married, moved to Indiana, and after a few years, he petitioned for me to get my green card.
The process started out to be very challenging, expensive, exhausting, and drawn out. That is until, we met Tim Winn with Catholic Charities Indianapolis Immigration Services. Tim walked us through everything that we needed to do to ensure a smooth transition. He made the process so very easy for me to obtain my green card.
It is a major relief that we no longer have to worry about being separated due to immigration troubles. I will be able to apply for my full citizenship in a couple of years. I am so grateful for what Catholic Charities has done for us.