I am an immigrant. I was born in Guatemala and came to the United States with my mother, sister, and other members of my family when I was four years old. My arrival was part of a larger exodus from Guatemala to the United States.
Today my family includes a lawyer, a medical doctor, an MBA, and two generations of Stanford students. We have graduates from or students at Harvard, Cornell, Princeton, Boston University, Columbia, Colgate, and other schools, with more on the way. Our family includes workers in different areas and cities. We vote.
A family of immigrants, New York 1957
My uncle Julio came from Guatemala to join the US Air Force when he was 17 – without immigration papers. After joining the Air Force he worried that he would be deported if they found out. He went to the commanding officer of his base and said “Sir, I have to make a confession.” “What happened?” Julio told the officer. “I arrived here without papers.” The officer asked, “Do you like it here in this country?” “Very much,” Julio answered. “And do you like being in the Air Force?” his officer asked. “I love it,” Julio answered. “You want to stay here?” “Yes,” Julio said, “I am certain I would like it.” “OK,” his officer said. The officer rang a bell and an official arrived. “Arrange Julio’s papers for his US citizenship,” he said. That’s how they arranged it. Julio served in the US Air Force for 20 years before retiring. He arranged for my great grandfather, grandparents, mother and father, uncle, aunt, sister, two cousins, and me to immigrate to the US with green cards.
My father had previously been deported twice, before returning with the immigration papers that Julio and my grandfather helped secure.