Hi guys, I'm new here. A lot of my friends call me Momo.
I'm a sophomore in high school and I have a GPA of 3.7 and I am taking several honors and AP classes right now. I really want to work with game development software and 3D design/animation when I grow up, but my legal status is really putting a damper on my thoughts for the future.
I came here from Korea when I was four; a few days before my fifth birthday. I remember my aunt giving me a child's make-up set in their gigantic luxurious house and I was really happy. That's how I remember how old I was when I came here.
I started kindergarten in 2002 and I was a problem child. I was still trying to get used to the different types of people that lived in the USA and I was always really bad with talking to people. I took lots of ESOL classes. I got better eventually.
I also grew up telling people I was born in Korea. At the time, I thought people like me were normal and everyone came from a different country like I did. I didn't know people like me were considered illegal.
When I was in fourth grade, our teacher went off tangent from our English journal writing assignment and lightly described to us that a legal American citizen had to be born in the US.
"Huh," Little Me thought, "I wasn't born in the US. What does that make me?"
Little Me went to the school library and I asked the librarian about immigration. I remember her surprised face because I don't think she expected a ten year old girl asking about American citizenship.
She gave me the books anyway, and I attempted to read. I didn't get much out from it, since I was only beginning to understand root words and context clues. All I got from the book was that illegal immigrants were people who came from a different country and didn't apply for citizenship. Unless they had a visa.
Naturally, Little Me being... little, I thought about other things the very next day and went on with my little fourth grade self. But I always had that information in my head and I knew I wasn't an American citizen.
Fast forward to 8th grade, my last year of junior high.
My dad, older sister, and I were at a KFC buying food (we like chicken!) and my sister brought up Korea when we were in line. She told my dad she wanted to visit Korea again because she barely remembers it anymore. He looked uncomfortable while my sister babbled in ignorant bliss about visiting our extended family I winced because prior to this, I had done additional research and I had very strong suspicions. After buying the chicken, our dad sat us in the car and told us we were illegal.
My sister freaked out and started crying. I think my dad expected that reaction, because when I just told him I already knew, he looked at me strangely. I just shrugged back. Looking back, I think I was too nonchalant about this.
From the little bits of information he told us over the years, I think we're on overstay on a tourist/work visa. I know that my dad has a SSN but my mom, sister, and I do not. I'm not sure what this amounts to.
Anyway, so my older sister asks my dad a bunch of questions and he answers them on the drive back. I don't remember what the questions were because I was too busy thinking about it.
So now I'm a 15 year old high school girl thinking about what she's going to do for the future. I still have two more years of school left, but after that is just a blur to me. What's going to happen to me after high school? I know for sure I won't be able to apply and pay for college. I'm losing hope in myself and I'm thinking about dropping out and helping my mom look for temp jobs.
I'm hoping this act passes so my future doesn't look too bleak, and I can gain motivation to keep on going.
My name is Momo, and I'm a DREAMer.
I hope we get significant immigration reform. My son is an immigration lawyer. And I hope it works out well for you.
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