Miguel Celeste, pseud.

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Interview Text and Audio


Miguel Celeste is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He and his family immigrated from Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, Mexico in 1998, when Celeste was ten, and moved to Siler City, North Carolina. Celeste graduated high school in Siler City and moved to Chapel Hill to pursue a degree in English. In this interview Celeste talks about his experience and process of migrating from Mexico to the United States and explains the family's reasons for moving. He discusses his difficulties in applying for colleges as an undocumented student, the positive experiences he gained from college and the challenges of finding work post graduation with his undocumented status.



Linda Herrera: Hi my name is Linda Herrera and I am interviewing Miguel
Celeste. Today's date is April 13th and the current time is 12:14pm. This interview is
taking place in the Davis Library and now I'm going to let Miguel consent.
Miguel Celeste: I agree to all the terms specified and I consent to this interview.
LH: First of all thank you very much for accepting to participate in this project
and for your willingness to share your story with us today. I would like to start off by
asking you a little bit about your family, such as where they are from and where they
currently live today.
MC: We are all from Mexico. My dad lives in Siler City, North Carolina, but he
will be leaving later this Friday. He's going to leave to go back to Mexico and I probably
may not see him for a very very long time. My mom and my younger sister live in a
small town in Georgia and I currently live in Carrboro by myself.
LH: Were you born in Mexico as well?
MC: Yes I was born in Mexico. I was born in 1988 and lived in Mexico till
1998, so I lived there for ten years.
LH: Is there a specific reason why you all migrated to the United States?
MC: My dad migrated first. For economic reasons he couldn't take care of me,
my sister and my mother, so he migrated here a year or two before I did [he couldn't
exactly remember when]. He migrated here to Siler City and lived there a year or two by
himself and other family members. Then he decided that he wanted us to come here [to
United States] because he thought that we were going to have a better future here and so
that's what we did. In August of 1998 my sister, my mom, and I came to this country by
migrating here.
LH: How was the actual process of migrating here?
MC: The process itself was very hard, we came undocumented obviously. So it
was decided early in the year that we were going to do that so my mom started saving
money and my dad started sending more money so that we could prepare for the trip. It
was a one week trip from Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, where we lived, to the border in Augua
Prieta, Sonora. From then on we were attempting to cross the border with coyotes or
polleros (smuggler of migrants) and that took a week actually, so it was not that long.
We did three attempts, twice we were caught. The first time we were caught it was in the
middle of the night when trying to walk through the fields and stuff. Then we attempted
either the same night again or the night afterwards. In that attempt we were actually
walking a lot more all during the night and it wasn't until dawn that we were caught again
by INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service). That time we were taken to a
detention center and processed. I don't think I was processed since I was like ten, but I
was told by my mother that we needed to get fake names and lie; so I was probably very
scared. I actually don't remember much about how I felt at the time. I do remember my
mom talking to my dad on the phone afterwards that me and sister were very scared and
that we didn't want to do it again and that we would not try a third time. Just because we
were there and a lot of money was put into it, a couple days later we had our third
This one was different since it did not really involve that much walking. The
town Agua Prieta in Douglas on the U.S. side was basically divided by a big yellow
fence. There's ( ) — there's a point where the countries meet and there's the road.
Outside of that is ( ), it's very--. Outside of that are gates and fences, so it was
decided that we were just going to jump the fence from one side of the town to the other.
This was much riskier because a lot of INS cars were patrolling the area, but our coyotes
decided to do it anyways. I don't think they were in their right state of mind at the time.
They didn't look healthy, they were pretty much looking high, but that's what they said so
that's what we did. And we waited till there were no INS trucks around and we jumped
this fence that to me at the time when I was ten looked like two floors high. My sister
could crawl under it, but I could not because I was already too big and so I had to climb it
up and just jump to the other side. Not from the top because that would have killed me,
but climb down and jumped. From then on we were on the Douglas side and we ran
through neighborhoods until we got to an abandoned house where we stayed a day. The
coyotes who do the border crossing left us with other coyotes who deal more with
transporting migrants from the abandoned houses. Those coyotes left us and they took us
to Phoenix to a safe house where there were a lot of other migrants who were just waiting
for more money to arrive so that they could send them on a plane trip to whatever their
destination was. My mom, my sister, and mine being Charlotte, North Carolina where
my dad's friends were going to meet us there so that they could take us back to Siler City
because my dad was at work so he couldn't actually be there. We meet with him
[referring to his father] when we arrived to Siler City.
LH: It definitely sounds like a very difficult process for just a week. [Interviewee
laughs a little]. You said you don't remember a lot but, how did this affect you
emotionally and psychologically?
MC: The one big thing that came out of that is the fact that I'm afraid of heights
now. I looked down at the ground when I was at the top of the fence and I don't think I
have ever forgotten because ( ), but it was very high up for me. Ever since then I
have never been comfortable with heights, so I always try not to look at windows and
stuff because it just does not go well for me. So that was for me the biggest
psychological thing. The other thing is that ever since then and I've been living here
since 1998,1 don't think I have ever wanted to go back to Mexico because I don't want to
go through that again. I did it as a child and it's different to do it as an adult, there's a lot
more risks. Especially now with the ramped up immigration enforcement, the routes are
a lot more riskier now and I don't think I could do that again or want to do that again. For
instance my dad has left the country and came back once, but I myself could never risk
something like that because of what I went through so I never have left. So in my mind is
that the day I leave the U.S. it will probably be the day I leave forever and not come back
because it's not something that I would like to do again. I don't remember how I felt, I
probably was very scared and I manifest that through the fact that if I leave I am never
coming back; not like that at least, so that's one thing.
LH: Definitely understandable as to why you wouldn't want to go through that
again. So you said you came to the U.S when you were ten, how was integrating yourself
into the American culture?
MC: I remember this very clear, I arrived on a Wednesday and I was put in
school on the Friday of that same week [interviewee laughs]. So there was no real
waiting time between crossing the border and going to school. So they put me in school
that Friday and my name was messed up. In this interview I am going by Miguel Celeste,
so let's say my name was Miguel Garcia Celeste. In Mexico the Garcia would be the real
last night, but because we took my schools--. So when they asked you for a last name we
took that literally, Celeste became my last name and that's my mom's last name. So ever
since then I basically changed my name when I came here and now I go by my mother's
last name. That was the first change and it was curiosity for me. I was put in school and I
did not know any English at all. I went through classes not knowing what the hell was
happening and what was going around me because I had only one block of ESL class
where I could actually understand the people around me. Outside of that I was in classes
where I had no idea what was going on and I didn't like it. Coming from school in
Mexico where I was very smart and very academically oriented to not knowing what the
hell I was doing was not very good for me. I remember that as soon as I got into the car
when my mom and dad came to pick me up [from school], I was crying [interviewee
laughs] telling them that I could not do this and that I wanted to go back. I felt like I had
no friends and like I had nothing, I just really wanted to go back at that time. My dad and
my mom told me that that was not possible and I just had to suck it up and go back on
Monday, so I did. It was hard in many ways to integrate myself into American society; I
don't think I have ever really fully.
It took three years for me to go from ESL classes, English as a second language
to being a full fledge student and just in normal classes like everybody else. So fifth and
sixth grade I just stayed in ESL classes sheltered there and being taught a lot of basic
stuff. Then when seventh grade arrived they told me I can no longer do that because I
had progressed enough so that I didn't have to, so I didn't. Ever since then I sort of have
been just a regular student in middle school and in high school. I had a lot of migrant
friends because of my time in ESL and because I spoke Spanish. I also had a lot of
American friends and this became very much—I separated myself a lot actually because I
felt like a lot times I could not fit with one group or the other. I was too different for my
American friends and then I felt like I was too smart for my migrant friends. I was among
the only migrant—there was only one other migrant person who in high school for
instances took AP (advance placement) classes. Those classes were very very small and I
was the only immigrant there or there might have been someone else. In that way I felt
different, I just never felt like I could fit in with other people and I didn't in either way.
LH: Besides the language barrier, what other difficulties did you face when
coming to the school system here?
MC: Outside the language barrier not much. There's a lot of background
information that I didn't know and still don't know. For instance, just regular American
things that other people take for grant it like—I don't know. I can't think of any at the
moment but sometimes it just comes up and even now with friends they are like you are
supposed to know this and I'm like no I don't know anything about that so whatever. So
it's just little common cultural stuff that I'm not sure about, but I integrated myself very
well in that sense. Like in all—I read a lot to keep up with everything so it was not really
that difficult for me. It was just making friends what was slightly a little bit more
Aside of that it was all fine, it was all fine really until the end of my junior year
and senior year when things got different because like I said I was very smart and
everybody sort of expected me to go to college. That is when there's the expectation of
everybody doing their college applications, where they are going and all this and that.
Then I~at least my teachers all expected that from me, but I was like well I'm not going
to apply to college because I don't think I can go. That's when my teacher's decided to
force me to apply to college, especially my librarian in high school. They told me that I
needed to apply and there was only one school that they told to apply to and that was this
one. Because they—she said that if there is one school that was going to be at the time
willing to accept me despite everything else that I had going on against me with the
whole documentation thing. They were going to be the only ones willing to accept me,
so I was literally forced to apply because I didn't want to. I graduated high school in
2006 and in 2005 there was someone else who was very very smart and that I cannot
remember her name, but she was I think number two in her class after one of my friends.
She applied to college and stuff and she didn't rejected, but she could not afford it
because no school was willing to pay for her. So it was just about the same as getting
rejected because she could not pay in state for North Carolina and would have to pay the
out-of-state-tuition—so that I could go to college and there is no way that I could afford
that at any college what so ever and even a community college for me was out of the
question so that's why I didn't want to apply to any university or college.
LH: I'm going to go back a little bit. How was transitioning from middle school
to high school? Did you expect certain things from high school?
MC: No. For me it was just worrying a lot about my home life and stuff going on
there to ever really care that much about transitioning from middle school to high school.
It was just going to classes and learn my ( ) and hanging out with friends whenever I
could. Not that big of a deal for me, it was for a lot of my friends and I realized this
because they had this big expectation. I didn't really feel it, it was just changing from one
location to another and I didn't feel any different at the time, so it was not that big of a
deal for me.
LH: When you got to high school, how did you know what classes to take and
what direction to go for?
MC: I basically just picked what I liked. I didn't really have any direction, so I
just picked classes that I liked, honor classes usually and that's because I could get to
them. Then when I was a junior I started picking up AP classes because at the time in my
head I was already sort of defeated in that I was not going to go to college and I said to
myself that AP classes were going to be as close to college as I was ever going to get. So
I decided to take those classes even though a lot of my—especially my good migrants
friends told me that that was stupid because why was I going to do that to myself when I
was not going to go to college. You're just trying to be ( ), so I— so that didn't matter
to me and I took them anyways. I liked the challenge and it's just something I felt like I
wanted to do.
LH: So did you take these classes just for the challenge and not because you were
thinking these would help you go to college?
MC: No, I never really thought about it that way. I never thought about any class
like oh this would look great on my going to college resume. I never had any type of
thinking ever in my life, even when I was a senior. I mean I just took those AP classes
because I thought it was a good thing. My thinking really was that that was as close to
college as I was ever going to get and I should do that because I wanted to go to college
but I knew— or I thought at the time it was not a possibility so that's why I did it. It was
never really a thought of oh this is going to look great. In high school I never had any
extracurricular activities outside of the beta club and the quiz bowl. Unlike a lot of my
other friends who had like hundred other things, they were doing a lot things because it
was going to look good. See for me that didn't really matter because I wasn't going to do
any of that and I wasn't going to go to college so why bother so I just--. Instead of doing
extracurricular stuff with projects, I would go home and play video games or do my
homework and that's all. So I never thought anything about classes and extracurricular or
anything like that.
LH: Did you have an understanding or some sort of knowledge before coming
here that you wanted to go to college? Or maybe not here, but in Mexico?
MC: No, I mean I always heard that smart people went to college and they got
good jobs in offices, but in Mexico it's not really that big of a deal.
LH: So it wasn't something that your family really pushed for?
MC: No. Not in Mexico and actually not here either. When I started doing the
whole college application process here, they never really said no don't do it, but at the
same time they were not really encouraging either because they'd seen what had happen
to other people and I guess in a way they didn't want me to end up getting disappointed
like everybody else I knew that had tried before me at the time. As I said the girl before
me, in the previous class who was very very smart, smarter than I was couldn't go
anywhere so in a since my parents I guess they never said no don't do that, but there
wasn't much else they could do with any of that. So it was never in the plans for me to go
to college. The plan was for me to finish high school and get a job to start earning
money. They just never sort of got the whole college thing and I know a lot of my
friends had their parents doing research about this and that. When I came to UNC —I did
not know where Chapel Hill was while I was applying. I didn't know what UNC
basketball was, I didn't know about any of that before [I came]. The first time I visited
UNC was in November of 2005 and I really really liked it and enjoyed it, but before that I
had no idea anything about college or about going through applications. It was never in
my radar at all, it's just never going to happen for me; it never was.
LH: You said that you were almost force to apply by your teachers, so how was
that college application process for you?
MC: I basically did everything they told me to do because I had no idea how to
fill out an application at the time and nor did my parents. So I basically had to rely on
them and they were--. A lot of the standard stuff like filling out the application and doing
the essays was fine, but then it came out to how do I do a financial aid application like the
FAFSA (The Free Application for Federal Student Aid). I didn't do a FAFSA because I
was told not to do one because I was not going to get any aid, so why bother. So I didn't
do for instance that, but I had a lot talks with a UNC admissions person about my
situation and how that was going to work. They basically—what I was told in the end and
what was going to happen was that they were going to put my application with the
eighteen percent of out of state students that they had and to compete with them. I was
told that if I could actually get myself into UNC and get accepted then someone was
going to find me a scholarship. There's a professor, a very good friend of mine who I met
in 2005 during my senior year. Peter told me that he was going to do whatever possible
thing he could do to find me a scholarship that would pay for everything, as long as I
myself through my own strengths was able to get myself into UNC. I did not have great
extracurricular activities, so that shot me down there; but I did take seven AP classes.
They also told them—he [referring to Peter] told the admissions people that I did not do
that because I was thinking of going to college, I did that just because I wanted to. They
valued that because they know a lot people are taking all these classes to—because it
makes them look good in an application. I did it because I had a lot of time on my hands
basically [interviewee laughs] and that's what I thought was the best thing, so that
actually looked great. I took seven AP classes; I was in the top five percent of my classtop
ten, so they accepted me.
Peter, my professor came through with what he said and he gave me a full ride
scholarship here. I still don't know how that happened, I consider it a miracle quite
frankly because I had never known of anyone else before me who had done it from that
high school and I was probably the first. I have met others, but to me it was the first. In
that high school now there's a mentoring program that helps out students like that, but I
had nothing. I had no idea what I was doing, I had no help, and I had no mentors. I had
my teachers and that was it. It was different because I didn't want to do it because I
knew~I instinctively knew that I was not going to get in because those things happened
to other people and not to you and then somehow it did. I visited Chapel Hill in
November and really enjoyed it. Then by the time I visited again it was April and got a
tour from my teachers in high school who were UNC alumni because they were also
involved in the process of getting me here. That day I was like I am coming here and this
was going to be my place. Somehow and someway it was and then it ended up being my
place for four years. The time here was great, I loved it.
LH: How was finding out that you were going to come to UNC? How did your
parents feel about it?
MC: I was just quiet when I was told. My high school counselor got the letters of
who got it in and you didn't because she knew of everyone that had applied. In that class
only five people got into UNC and I was one of them. When I was told I couldn't believe
it because--. For me getting into UNC it ended up not being the problem because despite
of the problems I still couldn't believe it because it was a lot of money. It was 120,000
dollars paid for, it's just a lot of money and I could not believe that that was going to
happen. So when I got the news I took it quietly because I was like well I get in, but it's
going to be the same thing as with the girl that got in and didn't get any financial aid or
anything like that, so why bother. But the real excitement for me came when Peter told
me that I was going to get the money. That's when everything sort of became real in a
way. I had been planning finishing high school and start looking for jobs. Then it
suddenly became finishing high school and start preparing to go to college, which was
not in my mind and it was just crazy in a way. For my parents when I told them I got in,
they also had the same skeptical mind that I did. They were like "oh you get in so who's
going to pay for it because we can't," they don't have that kind of money. It wasn't—the
shock didn't come until Peter actually came through with and said I have the money and
you have your scholarship so you can go. That's when things were really shocking to
them because they could not believe it since they had never heard of anyone like that
before. So it was—as I said they considered it a miracle and so did I. So it was just
shocking. By August I was— both of my parents came up here and they are separated so
it was a big deal for them to come together. Well in different cars, but they came
together on the same day to leave me in the dorm because I was going to live on north
campus. It was just very bizarre; I could not believe it until the moment I was just there
by myself and with a roommate. I was like this is really it, this is me here and it's kind of
shocking in a way and it still is.
LH: Definitely a great accomplishment. How was transitioning to college
coming from such a small high school?
MC: It was very challenging because I come from a small high school where
everybody sort of knows each other and at the same time I felt very comfortable with
being undocumented at that high school because it wasn't a big deal. Coming here
suddenly I didn't feel very comfortable at all being what I am. See the thing about me is
that unlike a lot of my friends who don't believe in sharing what they are and they keep it
that way with everyone they know, even their best friends don't know. I believe that you
cannot form a real friendship until they know that about you and they accept you for who
you are. That was going to be a big challenge for me because it was very difficult for me
to trust people in the beginning. I didn't make friends that easily, so I felt very lonely at
the same time. In high school I knew I was not the only one, I was not the only person in
my situation. I had a lot of friends who were in the same situation, so it was sort of a
comrade of people in that same type of situation, whereas here I did not meet anyone in
my same situation till my sophomore year. I went through a lot of digging and a lot of
prodding, through a lot of different sources who wouldn't tell me the first or last name.
Then I actually found out who it was and that to me was a great relief to know that I was
not the only person here in that same situation. We were the only two I believe for the
longest while, until recently when things started to open up and thanks to the mentoring
program at the high school more students in that situation have been here, but at the time
we only knew of ourselves and then she graduated. Yea it was difficult to trust people. I
felt like I was out of my place because in high school culturally there's a lot of the same
type of people like me. Here there was no one and even the Hispanic people that are here
it's different because they are legal or they come from another country so for them
everything is fine and for me everything is not fine. So I felt very lonely for the longest
time, until I found the other person and then even after I did there were still those
friendships that were still sort of different in a way.
Friends would say let's go drive to some place and I would say well I can't drive
so. They would say let's do this and do that and I'm like no I shouldn't do that because I
can't do that and I can't get in any sort of trouble because that would be bad with any sort
of situation. For instances you know friends do drunk things and then if the police gets
them well it's a slap in the wrist they are college students, but if it's me then it's slightly
more difficult because I'm not just a college student. Then there was also the ( ) stuff
with the university and financial aid. I myself have never been a quiet person about who
I am so I gave out a lot of interviews to a lot of media and the university did not like that.
So a lot times I just didn't feel comfortable with sharing this stuff. I've been interviewed
by a lot of newspapers, I've done radio interviews, been part of magazines like
Newsweek and The New York Times, but UNC never really liked it. There was a time
when they brought me down to South Building and I had certain people there that scared
the crap out of me by telling me that if somehow the University's name and my name and
I being undocumented became an issue or people knew about it in a very big scale and if
there was an investigation that basically they would let me burn. Not only that, they were
also going to let my friends who were undocumented like the friend I meet, they were
also going to burn because they would rather throw me under the bus than to let the
university be part of some sort of investigation. So they would rather deny me than to
take any chance. So typically I always thought that I didn't exist at UNC. I was here, but
I didn't exist in the grand scheme of things. I don't know things have changed now with
other students. We are going to see with the—especially a friend of mine who is coming
here this coming year he is even more out there than I am so I'll see how things have
changed, that will be interesting to see.
LH: So did that change your experience here at UNC?
MC: Yeah I mean when you get told that--. None of my friends ever got told or
marched to South Building being told that they couldn't talk about themselves because
they were going to—not kick them out but they were like if there's an investigation by a
certain immigration agency we are going to let them have you. So you know I had that
experience, when most of my friends say I have a bad day such and such thing. When I
have a bad day, it's very very bad. Things are far more different when I have a bad day,
but when my friends have a bad day that's usually a good day for me. When I have a bad
day that's usually the worst nightmare because I have had to deal with a lot of other
things that they have not had to deal with.
I also kept a blog for the longest time about my experiences of being an
undocumented student and then—not here at the university obviously because I'm not that
out there, but I met a lot of people through that. Some of those were good people and a
lot of bad people as well. I got constant attacks there and death threats online. People
who don't know me at all and my friends don't have that. You know you get up to look at
your laptop and look at the emails. They get stuff from classes and I get threats from
God knows where. I got every sort of death threat that you can possibly imagine and I
had to live with that. Yes I put myself out there, but just because you put yourself out
there that doesn't mean you have to get threaten by everyone. The other side of that is
that I met a lot of other undocumented people throughout the country. Then coming to
college and actually having internet here allowed me to see that I was not the only so that
helped out a lot too, but at the same time I also saw how a lot of us are a very depressed
group of people [interviewee laughs a lot]. We are a very depressed group of people and
because I put myself out there in the internet with my blog and talking, a lot of people
somehow thought I was happier or had figured out how to live here. So I got a lot of
depressive friends who just--. I had to talk to a lot of suicidal friends who were just—it
was bad. Eventually it ended up with one of the people I knew committing suicide my
senior year here. That was—I can ask my friends how am I different. I can ask my friends
how many people they know who have committed suicide and none of them will answer
or raise their hands to say one. I can say I know three, so that's different. How many
people have been threatened by the administration that if there was some investigation
there were going to let them go? That would be me. How many people get upset with the
political situations here like back when the community colleges were going to be closing
to undocumented students? I was very upset, but they had no idea about any of that.
They had no stack in the manner, I did. I was very insulted and very upset by that. It was
different, they had their words and I had my own words as a student. I had my friends,
my relationships and classes, but on top of all of that I also had all this other stuff that
was going on. Stuff with family, stuff with the administration; stuff with the friends
online and with interviews that came out from that that I had to deal with. It was very
hard to keep it all together and my grades at UNC suffered as a result. I was never kicked
out thankfully, but I never felt as smart as I used to be in high school. Yes, it was very
very tough being here and doing all of this. I wouldn't recommend anyone ( ). In
many ways I was very happy here, but in many ways I was very sad to be here
[interviewee took a big sigh when saying "sad"].
LH: Definitely understandable after going through all what you went through.
You said you have graduated, so how has life been since you graduated and what
difficulties have you faced since then?
MC: Graduation for many of my friends—I have this quote on my facebook some
place, it means being able to move on, get a better job and start a new life. My life—had I
graduated high school and not gone to college it would have been the same. I work as a
waiter at a Japanese restaurant, that's not any different than anyone graduating high
school. I worked as a cook at another restaurant and that's the kind of job I'm ever going
to have here. Despite all my connections online that I have made, I have never met a
single undocumented person actually be able to use their degree in whatever it is that they
might have it in. To actually use it, like their degree actually matters in what they do;
never have I met anyone like that. I have met people who have gone through law school,
who are doing med school, who are doing post undergrad, they still can't do anything.
They still end up as janitors, cooks, and waiters. So after graduating my life is the same,
it was sort of what I was expecting after high school. It was great four years, I really
enjoyed it. It allowed me to be an undocumented student for longer than I imagined
myself being, but now I'm just as I said an illegal immigrant and now I'm doing the same
thing that parents would be doing. So graduating doesn't really change anything, you
know my friends have gone off to do other things like grad school, but I'm not doing any
of that.
LH: Do you have plans of doing any of that?
MC: No. As I come to find out it's not very hard actually or in comparisons to (
). It's not that hard to get into undergrad as an undocumented student, a lot of people do
it. You have to be very tough and lucky, but a lot of people do it. A lot more than I
originally thought do it, but you have to be extremely extremely extremely lucky to be
able to go pass that. You have to be super genius, which I know of some people who are
that go to law school and stuff like that or have a guardian angel who is willing to pay for
it. Yes UNC paid for my UNC tuition and everything, but no one is going to be willing
to pay for me after that. I don't know of many people who actually have been able to
make plans after that and I myself am not one of them. What I've seen out there are
people who are living at home with their parents because that's cheap and doing waiter
jobs and stuff like that or living by themself like I am and doing waitering jobs. So
[small pause] it doesn't really change anything. I am probably never going to get past
being a waiter or a cook here. So as long as I remain here, that's my choice. This is what
I know so that's why I am doing this and why I live like this. I could easily probably go
back and be a teacher over there—that's actually what I always wanted to be, always.
Ever since I was in Mexico I always have wanted to be a teacher and I can't do that here.
I guess when I do have enough courage and get fed up enough with the system and
people here, I may go back and do that over there; but until then I'm stuck here doing
waitering jobs and looking for other jobs like that.
LH: Since you are in that situation where you can't really do anything with your
degree. What would you want to tell the people in charge like the senators or just the
general public about undocumented students and letting them pursue a higher education?
MC: We are not to blame for what are parents decide for us, I didn't just come
here and yet I'm here. I'm pretty sure I could do a much better job at teaching than I am
doing waiting tables. I could be a much more productive member of society anyways and
could pay more taxes. I think it is wrong to keep us like this for as long as we have been
because--. I know a lot of people—just a lot of people who have degrees; I'm an English
major so I know a lot of people who are English majors and history majors. My friend
who went here and who graduated already, she was a bio major and she could be doing
something. She was really smart and she was doing something with ( ), she could be
doing research some place God knows where, yet she's I think at best working as an
interpreter in a hospital somewhere in Seattle. So you know really smart people are just
being janitors and waiters. I had one friend who was actually very lucky, he went to
Canada and he is working for them over there; instead of being here. He didn't want to
leave, but he was rejected by the UNC dental school or some school here in the UNC
system. So someone came and said "hey we'll take you" and so he left. Last time I heard
about him, he was buried under twenty-five feet of snow, but he was very happy. He was
doing something with his degree, something more than just being a waiter. I think that
we all want is to be more than waiters and cooks and living at home not being productive.
To do more than that.
LH: Well I think we have come to the end of this interview. I don't know if you
would like to add anything else?
MC: No, I don't know what else I could add.
LH: Well thank you very much for taking the time to participate and for sharing
your story more than anything. You're a great example of a great student who has pushed
yourself way more than a lot of other students just because you have had to and I think
that's a great accomplishment in itself. I hope the best for you in the future and hopefully
things will change for the better.
MC: We'll see [both interviewer and interviewee start laughing]. We'll see.
LH: Thank you.
MC: No problem.