I am the first generation born in the U.S. My Abuelita Ali was born in Durango, Durango, Mexico the summer of 1923. Today she is a U.S. Citizen still living her best life at the age of 99. She is the second eldest of a family of 12. In 1952 she became a mother to a beautiful baby girl, she named Elvira. When my mother was 2 my abuelita made the courageous choice to travel to Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico where at the time her younger sibling lived with her family. Coming the U.S. with only a 3rd grade education she then found a job here in El Paso, Texas with a nice family in the West side. The family eventually petitioned for my abuelita and mother, they then became Legal Permanent Residents. My grandmother then decided to move to Los Angeles, California, they started living in a bedroom that she rented from a friend of hers. She had many factory jobs from a pickle factory, until she found the job that she would stay and retire. She worked in a clothes factory in downtown LA, saved up for a down payment on a home in heart of East Los Angles. Throughout the years she has housed not only her siblings that were in the process of immigrating to the US, the children of her siblings at one time or another.
In 1989, as a family we all moved here to El Paso, Texas. My mom eventually got a position in the mail room at the Diocese of El Paso, late 1990’s she was offered a receptionist position here at Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services. She became a full accredited representative, with expertise in VAWA. She worked for many years, advocating for her clients. She herself was a victim of domestic abuse, she empathized with her clients on a level that many can’t. She would have me come and “volunteer” here while I was attending college, something that I will forever be grateful. In 2010 my mom had to retire, due to many serious medical issues. You can catch her still volunteering in some way to help immigrants, whether it is working at a shelter or at the local church. 2021, I was hired to work in the Unaccompanied Minors Program. The children taught me so much in such little time that I worked with them. The team of lawyers and caseworkers I had the privilege to learn from, they truly have a love for this. This work is not easy, working with children there are a lot of disappointments and heartbreaks. I have been transferred to the General Legal Services Department, we file applications, represent clients before USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.) I hope to one day be able to fill the shoes of my abuelita and my mother. Being born here in the U.S., I feel I used to take for granted. This work, the clients have made me even more thankful for all the struggles my abuelita went through for me to be born a U.S. Citizen. I hope to continue doing my part in this wonderful organization, working with this wonderful team. To try and advocate for those that don’t have a voice.
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