At the age of 19, my father, who lived in Los Angeles, started the procedure for my residency papers. I lived with my mother and sister in San Francisco de Becerra, a small municipality in the department of Olancho (Honduras). The only idea I had about the United States was the one we built through television: big buildings, work and money. But when I arrived, I realized that the reality was different.
At first, everything was confusing and difficult. I woke up crying because I missed everyone.
I started working at McDonald's washing the dishes. Four months after my arrival, I moved to New Jersey, where I started living with my aunt. I had several jobs: in a factory, packing boxes, at the Hilton, cleaning the bathrooms and making beds. Almost half of the money earned was sent to Honduras.
And all this time, I had trouble learning English and being able to enter university. Some people have told me that I should continue to work because studies are very expensive in the United States, an impossible dream. But when I have a goal, I do not stop until I get there.
I first studied at a community college (as a kind of educational bridge), then I got a scholarship to enroll in communication and economics at Saint Pierre University. At first it was complicated, my English was not so good. I sat in the back because I was afraid they would ask me questions and I would not know how to answer them.
I studied from 8:00 to 14:00, I worked in a restaurant and in the evening I did my homework. I made American, Italian and Latino friends. Between us, we spoke English, which allowed me to improve very quickly. And with effort, I managed to finish my studies in two years.
Five years after my arrival, I became an American citizen hoping to bring my family with me. I think my future is here, but I have ideas about opening businesses in Honduras and continue to contribute to the development of my community. I organized a Facebook group of 200 people and managed to raise nearly $ 3,000 that we allocated to the original community clinic to provide better health care for my people. We are now 1,500 people involved in this project, For a Better Becerra.
With the current president, everything has changed. Some members of my family have been here for over two decades, they have American children. There is a lot of uncertainty about the revocation of the GST (Temporary Protected Status). I'm really sorry because most of the people who come here are working and trying so hard that they deserve an opportunity.
For people considering migrating, I would tell them to choose the right path. The United States can be a place of opportunity, but also very hostile. I decided to follow the right path and it opened many doors for me. Many people, without knowing it, use me as an example for their children. It is a responsibility to continue to work and study.
This country has been good for me, I met people who helped me a lot, but above all I was able to advance what made me grow. I started working at McDonald's and now I work as a financial analyst with a globally recognized company.
My dream would be for my mother to come here and enjoy my accomplishements. It is thanks to her that I am where I am.
With regard to Honduras, I wish peace and tranquility for my people. I come back every year and every time I'm there, I feel reborn. The love and hugs of my people encourage me.