José Rico

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Jose Rico is an undocumented student attending community college in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was born in San Luis Potosi, Mexico before moving to Tamaulipas, Mexico when he was three years old. Rico's family moved to Raleigh, North Carolina in 2003, arriving on a tourist visa, but overstayed their visa. Rico became involved with community activism when working on the Reform Immigration for America (RIFA) campaign. In 2010, Rico helped found the North Carolina DREAM Team, a group of immigrant student youth and allies committed to creating an immigrants' rights movement in the state of North Carolina. Rico is an advocate for undocumented students coming out of the shadows and has publicly declared his status on several occasions. In the interview, Rico discusses his family's history of migration and education, highlighting his experiences in the public education system in the United States. Rico also talks about community activism.


Ariel Eure: I'm here with Jose Rico, an undocumented student who is an activist and community organizer for North Carolina DREAM Team. Where were you born?
Jose Rico: I was born in Mexico in 1989.
AE: In what state in Mexico?
JR: I was born in San Luis Potosi in Ciudad de Valles, Mexico, in September 3rd 1989 [laughs]
AE: When and why did you come to the United States?
JR: That's a long question I'm going to have to, you might want to put it down. So the reason why I'm here goes back in the mid-nineties when the United States signed its foreign policies. This is just in my case. Back in 1994, 1995 President Clinton signed the North Atlantic Free Trade [sic] Agreement, the NAFTA, with Mexico and Canada, and what that did is it allowed many US companies to settle in the Northern part of Mexico in the northern part by the border, so that they can have cheaper labor. My parents were from the central part of Mexico, from San Luis Potosi, and my dad for the opportunity of having a better life and a job, so he moved to the Northern part of Mexico, in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, which is like twenty minutes from McAllen, Texas. So that's where I grew up. We moved when I was three years old to that part of Mexico and my dad went to college there, he became an engineer and he was working there. I believe that I was really privileged, still, even though I'm undocumented. We were able to attain tourist visas so we were able to come back and forth. Well, before 2003 when my dad was laid off by [sic] that U.S. company. The reason why he was laid off was because that those companies were moving away from Mexico. They were looking for even cheaper labor purposes outside of Mexico to Southeast Asia, like China and all of these countries that today we see has emerging powers. So that's why my dad, you know my dad didn't have a job, my dad was looking for a better opportunity for me and for my family so that's why we moved here. We entered legally with tourist visas, and that's basically why my parents decided to move here. I personally didn't want to move here. I had a life in Mexico I was in the secundaria, which is middle school, seventh grade, and I was doing really good. When we came here we were visiting my aunt in Raleigh, North Carolina. We got here on June 23rd of 2003.1 thought that we were going for vacation. I thought that we were coming for a visit. I didn't know it would become a stay. My mom was the one who convinced me to stay. She knew that I liked a lot to go swimming, to go to the pool, and where we lived in the apartment complex we had two. So, we didn't have to pay to go to the pool like in Mexico. I really liked that. Besides, the school in Mexico was a week after the school beginning here so I was like, I'm going to try it, why not? I tried it the first day; I didn't like it at all. I wanted to go back, I told my mom I wanted to go back but that's why she convinced me with the pool. To this day I don't regret my parents ever moving here, bringing me here, because they wanted a better opportunity for me education-wise and to have food on the table for us. So that's what anyone, any parent will do if they're faced with those situations where they have to provide for their family. I love my parents. I will never regret it, that's what they did. I am not going to judge them. If someone wants to put out a finger to them, they should put out to the foreign policies that made them move in the first place. But that's just in my case. There are many people who moved for different reasons, similar, but different. I hope that answered the question for why I'm here, [laughs]
AE: Yes. How far did your parents go in school?
JR: My dad, he had some college. He had a semester to go before graduating. He didn't graduate but he still gained a title as an engineer because he was working with people, you know with engineers. He learned everything that he had to; he was just a semester from graduating college and getting that piece of paper that said he was an engineer. My mom, I admire also a lot my mom because she actually finished her G.E.D. here in the United States and she did it all by herself, [mumble] She went to school by herself and preparing, even asking me questions about math and all that. I was really happy when she got her G.E.D. in 2004. That was a year after we moved here.
AE: How do you parents feel about the importance of education in your life and in their lives?
JR: The importance of what?
AE: The importance of education.
JR: Education. I think both of my parents they cherish education a lot. My dad, he went to college but he wasn't able to graduate, my mom, getting her G.E.D. here, learning English both of them, that's something that in itself tells that they cherish education. Also, the fact that they are supporting me, right now that I'm going to college, to community college, paying out-of-state tuition. They are helping me with tuition, with housing, for me that tells me that they value education. They want me to succeed and they want me to have the life that they weren't able to attain, to have the opportunities they weren't able to attain. That's why I'm here and that's why I'm trying so hard to have education myself.
AE: Did you speak any English when you came to the United States?
JR: I didn't know a lot of English. I knew a little bit because as I said I felt very privileged back in Mexico. My parents were hardworking people so I was privileged to be able to attend a private school and be able to learn English. We were also living on the border between Mexico and the U.S. so I was pretty much I knew the culture, But it was still tough to learn the language and be fluent. The only words I was able to understand were like "how are you" or "what's your name". Aside from that I didn't know that much. So no, not that much.
AE: When you started attending school in the United States were you offered English as a Second Language classes?
JR: Yes, and for that I can also say that I'm privileged, because I coming here, I had the opportunity that there was an ESL program offered at the middle school that I had, that I went to. But if you go back, five years even, a little bit back before the 2000s, there were still a lot of schools that didn't offer ESL. I know from different people, different friends that I have, that I know, that wasn't the case, that there was [sic] only them and no ESL. They were by themselves. But I did have ESL and I had it in my first period class on the first day that I had a U.S. school ever.
AE: Where would you say the majority of the people in your ESL class were from in high school?
JR: Well the high school, I can talk about the middle school, because in middle school that's when I had ESL. I think we were really diverse. We had people from Mexico of course, but we also had from El Salvador, from Guatemala, from Japan, from Vietnam, and from Africa also. They spoke French, that's when I learned a little bit of French from them. It was a really diverse ESL class.
AE: Do you think that ESL helped you in middle school or do you think that it kept you a little isolated from the rest of your schoolmates?
JR: For me, I think it helped me. It helped me a lot. But I did see [sic] that the ESL program, it has a lot of flaws. I had to go and talk to my ESL teacher that I didn't want to have ESL anymore because I told myself that I know enough English to be able to go to the other classes with the regular people with the regular students, the regular class. I had to do that to be able to get out of ESL. I think that there were a lot of students that didn't have that kind of determination or the courage to go and talk to their teacher. I'm okay, I don't need ESL, I don't want ESL anymore. I can do it, I wanted to do it by myself. I wanted to challenge myself. There are people who become complacent maybe. That's what I see. They also give you a test and I don't think that's really accurate, I'll say. But that's just my perspective; things might have changed by now since I graduated in 2008 and I didn't have ESL until, I mean I still had ESL until 2004, 2005. So that was a long time ago, it was like six years ago. [laughs]
AE: What were the most difficult subjects for you when you first came to the United States?
JR: The first day of school and I can tell you the first day of school it was social studies and a little bit of science because we had to read. But social studies was the hardest class that I had on that first day of school and that first semester of school in the United States back in middle school. Because we had to read and we had to understand a lot of things in English. I remember that the first test that I had the teacher allowed me to answer the questions in Spanish. I understood the question but how can I elaborate and do it in English, it was really really new and I was learning. I'll say that social studies was the - and I didn't have English yet. I'll say that English and social studies would be the hardest ones if you're learning a new language.
AE: Did you get good grades in high school?
JR: I did, I did get good grades in high school. I don't want to brag about it. I did. I had a semester of ESL in high school which that's when I had to talk to my teacher like I don't want ESL anymore. I went straight to the regular classes. Then I took Honors classes. Then I took AP classes since I was a junior. I think if I had known English before, a little bit before, I could have taken even more Honors classes and AP classes. That probably hindered a little bit my G.P.A. I ended up with a 3.99998 G.P.A. [laughs] so I did have good grades.
AE: Were there any teachers in your middle school or your high school that knew about your status?
JR: [pause] Yes. There was this teacher in middle school I guess that, the teachers that knew about my status, were the ones that I didn't tell them. Well yeah, kind of throughout the years. In middle school my ESL teacher was the one that I told, well I didn't specifically tell her but with the conversation that I wanted to go to college, I didn't tell her specifically, she told me like even if you don't have documents you can still go to school. She took me to the first back in 2004, she took me to this summit for education that the North Carolina Hispanic Professionals sponsors each year. That's their thing for scholarships and all. I was invited by this teacher and she told me that. Back in high school the teacher that I also told was my Spanish teacher, I took AP Spanish literature and she, it was in the eleventh grade and I was talking about college, and she told me like you should apply for Harvard. She was like I don't want to ask this [mumbles] question but if you don't have the [mumbles] documents to apply and because it's one of the Ivy League schools and it's a private school, they may be able to offer you more help. But those were the teachers I didn't specifically tell [sic] those were the ones that pushed me because they wanted me to be better. This wasn't a teacher this was an advisor that I told, and I specifically told her because I wanted to go to school. It was my advisor in high school, I was in the twelfth grade, my senior year, first semester and I told her you know what are the possibilities of a student with a at the time had a 3.8 G.P.A., of a 3.8 student to go to school? She told me there were many because I was a Latino student, I was a minority, so I had a lot of opportunities. But then I also asked her what about the possibilities for an undocumented student to go to school, to go to college? She said that there were minimal opportunities because of their status, but she said, Jose you're not in that situation. At that moment I chose to come out of the shadows and say I'm undocumented or to remain in the shadows and be complacent probably not even go to community college. So I decided to tell her yes, I am one of those students. What can I do? I want to go to school. I have the grades; you already said that, I have the grades. She couldn't give me any feedback. She shook her head and just couldn't say anything because she wasn't prepared. That's the person that I told.
AE: Did you find it hard to stay motivated in high school?
JR.: When I was in high school, no. I was really involved in community service, I helped create, co-found the first Latino club in my school, the [mumbles] service club, and I was giving service to my school by translating with the advisors in the advising office for students that didn't understand [sic] the language. I gave a lot of service with my school. I also had a lot of classes, AP classes, and that's what motivated me to go through high school.
AE: How did you feel on the day of your graduation?
JR.: [pause] I was really excited because I was going to a new stage of my life. I knew that the next stage was college. I had applied to seven universities; out of them to [sic] six of them I was accepted. I was still really excited I was like, yes I have attained it, I have a high school diploma. My parents brought me here because they wanted that opportunity. My parents threw me a party after the ceremony in the house with my family so I felt really excited. But at the same time, you know in the back of my mind, what am I going to do next? I know that I couldn't pay for school even though I was accepted to many of them. I kind of knew I was going to be going to community college all along because of my situation. But I wanted to put it aside to have that hopeful thought of what if I'm given the opportunity to go to a four year college? Because I always had that dream that I want to experience what is it like to live in a dorm with a bunch of students and just having your own life? To have a normal life? I guess at the end it was sad. That night I was like I have to keep trying. So I guess I was really hopeful that day of my graduation. I was happy and hopeful. I got all of these, what is it called? Honors and all of these certifications from my school and the National Honor Society, and the service club, for giving service to the school which only like ten students in the whole school are given to. I feel really proud and happy and hopeful.
AE: Could you elaborate on why you had to go to community college instead of a four year university?
JR: Yes, I can. I applied to as I said to seven colleges and also private schools. They did offer me money, but it wasn't enough to pay. Like one of them gave me like two thousand dollars but it was like a hundred thousand dollar school. I didn't have the money to pay them the rest. I needed my family, I knew that. Mainly because of the money I wasn't able to. As you know undocumented students cannot apply for the FAFSA so they cannot have any federal financial aid or state financial aid. They only thing that you have is just private funding. So when I had that private funding I was able to attain a private scholarship which covered my first year of community college, which was like two thousand dollars, paying out-of-state tuition by the way. But still, I was able to do that much. But I really frustrated why you know, working so hard, taking all of those classes and at the end it didn't pay off as much as I was expecting to. That was very frustrating [sic] to the point that I didn't want to, you know what am I going to do? Someday I'm going to run out of money and I don't know what I'm going to do next. Does that answer the question I can go on, but I just want to answer the question [laughs]
AE: Yes, you answered it. What would you say the various obstacles are that undocumented students face when trying to go to college?
JR: [pause] Undocumented students or any students?
AE: Yes.
JR: For undocumented students first of all, you don't know the system. You have to learn how the system works. Even within school you have to find out how to even get your advisors to send your transcript to the school that you want to go to. And I guess an emphasis in and that's for the schools that have to emphasis in the fact that you have to apply for school. Be thinking about it in your eleventh grade tenth grade that you're going to be doing that in your last year of high school, something that would have helped me a lot. But still I was able to learn that the hard way I guess applying for schools. And also many of the students don't know like I applied to seven of them and I was, you have to apply for them and you have to pay for the application. Some people don't know if you have a reduced lunch in high school you are allowed to have four of those applications waived by the school. That's something that many students do not know. That's another obstacle that you can see there. Also, knowing how to apply. It's hard to go and apply and do a bunch of essays then asking your teachers for letters of recommendation and then it's that FAFSA form which for undocumented students it's really hard because the first thing that they ask on that first page is your social security number and you don't have it. People like me, I didn't know what that was. So I went and asked my mom, mom can you give me the number because I want to apply for school and to find out that I didn't have it. That's what it really meant to be an undocumented even though you kind of know, but you don't know what that really means until oh you cannot apply for the FAFSA you cannot do something for school or get a license. Those are the obstacles that you face. Driver's license for example, having those excuses. I remember that one asked me like when are you going to get your license? And I'm like, yeah I'll get it later it's a long line have you been to the DMV? Yeah, I understand, I get you. Those are the kind of that you have to face while in high school and being undocumented. It's not hard it something that, you have to lie, you have to move through the system to kind of fit in and be like anyone else even though inside you know that you are not and you don't know what you're going to do. I guess those are the major obstacles that a high school student faces while attaining a higher education. The money is really important.
AE: You mentioned money as an obstacle, how are you able to pay the out-of-state tuition necessary for you to go to school?
JR: Me? Well I have to work really hard. Working fifty, sixty hours a week, having three jobs at the same time, being a full-time student, you have to endure all of that. I remember that my first year, my second year I only slept like four hours a day and working every single weekend. It's tough. You have to pay it out of your own pocket. Your parents have barely enough money to support themselves and support you. You have to make things work for you if you want to have an education. I guess that's how I managed to stay in school and working so hard, being a good student, being a good person, why isn't that enough? Why am I, why? I didn't understand. There was a point when I wanted to blame my parents but I knew that all they wanted is to have a better life for me. During that time in 2009, the fall of 2009 when I received a call from Nayely, from el Pueblo and she asked me if I wanted to be, to go to D.C. for this training for the Reform Immigration for American Campaign and I was like yes I want to do it, this is what I've been waiting for! I wanted to do something because the situation that I was in, the situation that I saw my parents in, my little brothers that they were soon going to be doing the same thing, the same struggles that I was doing. Yes, I want to. I want to do the training. I want to bring the RIFA campaign to North Carolina, which we did. We were only ten people going to the D.C. training, to me that was the first, what I was waiting for. I went to the training in December and we had a training here in Raleigh, North Carolina. We had a lot of people, students from around the state to go to that training and to have RIFA. That's when a lot of people from the North Carolina DREAM Team that I met, that's when I met Viridiana. I was a facilitator who facilitated the training where she was. I was kind of training Viridiana, which now I think she has trained me. I think it's something they have done, that we have done recently in the past 2010 year. That's how I became involved, civically engaged in my community. Even though I was already doing community service, but that's when I really went canvassing with my community, that there was this immigration reform being crafted by Congress, and that Luis Gutierrez was going to be doing something. Everyone was really happy, really hopeful that things will be changing. You know with my community, and I think I'm repeating myself I was really frustrated again when I found out it was only a campaign, it was only six months. When I realized I was being used and at that time I didn't feel like I was being used because I was doing it out of my heart out of my love for my community because I wanted things to change. Out of my own time, out of my own money, out of my own life to put for this campaign and move a lot of my community. All of them asking me questions, what's the next step, what's the next step? The RIFA campaign, it was ending. And I'm like, what am I going to tell my community? There is no reform, it was a lie. That made me feel really bad with myself. I was like screw the RIFA campaign, they don't, I felt really bad that I didn't see [sic] that coming even though people told me around me. My dad told me that they were only using me. No, no, no I'm doing this because I want to do it. I changed my parents they both went to the March for America on March 21st of last year. After that nothing else happened. That's when Viridiana a friend of mine along with other students around the state came together and we formed the North Carolina DREAM Team. Undocumented students, allies that are documented, that check their privileges. They know, they want undocumented students to be the ones speaking for themselves and them just being kind of like the tools, which I don't like that, but kind of like giving their knowledge their abilities so they can enhance that, that's what a true ally is by the way.
AE: That's what a what?
JR: A true ally is.
AE: Oh, yes.
JR: That's when I became really involved with activism at the end of 2009 and almost all of 2010. [laughs]
AE: What kind of actions has the North Carolina DREAM Team done in the past?
JR: Well the first one that we had that was like two weeks after we founded it, it was a thirteen day hunger strike which I originally was going to be doing, but I found out that I wasn't able to do it because the first day I was like okay I'm going to try to do this day and I was dying that afternoon. I couldn't, I was like oh my gosh my body is numbing [laughs] I need to eat something, [laughs] I know that's kind of sad, but I felt really proud of those three strong women: Viridiana Martinez, Loida Silva and Rosario Lopez. Rosario Lopez which is one of that graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill. All of them undocumented. At some point of all them students. But they decided to take direct action and show that they were tired of living in the shadows that they were tired of being second-class citizen and not being able to have the same opportunities that everyone had. They grew up here just like me. They saw opportunity on the DREAM Act. The DREAM Act it's a piece of legislation that if passed it would have allowed students like me to be able to form that line that people always talk about, go to the back of the line. There's no line. To form that space for people like me to be able to work hard and to ultimately gain citizenship. It would have been a ten year process, but still it's a process that was there for us, which wasn't able to because Senator Hagan along with other senators and also Senator Rachel Burr they killed it, back in last year in December 18th 2010. A Saturday, I will never forget because I was there. So that's the first action that the North Carolina DREAM Team did. The thirteen day hunger strike we did which the main purpose was to push Senator Kay Hagan, a Democrat from North Carolina, to pass the DREAM Act, to co-sponsor the DREAM Act which she never did and she voted no. Then we moved to more, to do a lot of work in the community. We began to do, especially for undocumented students, to do coming out of the shadows actions, rallies throughout the state of North Carolina. We did it in Greensboro, we also did a campaign, "No Taxation without Representation" which there has always been that stigma that undocumented people in general they don't pay taxes. That is entirely not true. It's a lie. We do pay taxes. The IRS has been giving us the ITIN number, it's similar to the social security number, with the sole purpose of filing taxes each tax season. It has been given to [sic] us by the IRS since 1996, so all of us pay taxes. That's for income tax. There is no line for undocumented people, you pay here so you don't have to pay taxes. We all pay sales taxes. That's another thing that we did. I know with Know Your Rights training for the community, what to do if a police officer stops you and you don't have a driver's license. What to do if there is an officer knocking on your door in the middle of the night. If they don't have a warrant they cannot come in. That's kind of the work we have been doing with the community. I don't know if I should mention any recent [laughs]
AE: Ah, we'll get to that.
JR: [coughs] Okay, that's all last year, [coughs] [laughs] Sorry.
AE: No problem. Please don't choke.
JR: [takes drink] Thank you.
AE: No problem. For you what has been the most challenging aspect of being involved in the movement?
JR: Well last year I claimed that having a job supporting me was the obstacle. I had to go to work. Those hours, I may as well could have been using it for my community organizing. But right now I think there are a lot of organizations that claim to advocate for our community. They are speaking for us, kind of like the RIFA campaign. They were the ones who put what the community wanted, when what the community wanted was just a driver's license to be able to go out. It wasn't the community being spoken for [sic]. I will have to say organizations, that non-profit complex are an obstacle right now for us to work with to our full potential. Also another one is the lack of funds, because we don't want to be limited on the ability for us to do rallies, direct action and even civil disobedience. Being a non-profit limits you and the amount of things you can do. I'll say the lack of funds, because we are solely funded by our day jobs by [sic] money that I make from [sic] my work and donation from the community when we do work or certain fundraisers that we do throughout the year. That's what we get back. So I'll say money is an issue too.
AE: Do you feel it has now become necessary to use civil disobedience to make undocumented students voices heard?
JR: Let me see. I think that's more like a personal thing. I have done along with undocumented students around the country, we have done lobbying, we have met with our Senator, we have rallied, we have done a lot of things to move our communities to make that statement for our communities that we are students we want an education. We have been living here since we were children. This is our home. When that falls on dead ears and the community becomes complacent and the community becomes engulfed in fear with all of this anti-immigrant legislation, which occurred first in Arizona with SB 1070. Now here in Carolina we have HB11 which will ban undocumented students to go to school or HB343 which is the copycat SB1070. And HB33 and HB38 and the list goes on like fifteen bills now in the North Carolina General Assembly that we have and people want to do lobbying still. For me I felt the need to stand up and make that statement to expose that my community is living in fear, my community is being persecuted, and that I as a student I had the responsibility to make that statement known throughout the country. So I think it is necessary to do civil disobedience or direct action, it doesn't have to be civil disobedience in order for people to know and understand why are we here? Why are we demanding education? Why is it that our communities are being engulfed in fear, in shame? When a student, especially a high school student comes to you and asks Jose, you're in community college, you're undocumented, how can I do the same thing? When you know that there is a possible ban and these students are afraid and are in shame because they are undocumented, crying to me because they are undocumented. Because they weren't able to tell their advisors that they were undocumented because they feel the shame. They feel inferior. That moved me to move forward to tell it to the world to express that all of this is happening. That's why I, we haven't gotten to that question yet, but I had partaken in an act of civil disobedience last week. So I don't know if you want to ask that question- [laughs]
AE: Go on, that's fine.
JR: [coughs] So yeah, last week, last Tuesday, April 5th myself along with other six students from around the country, from Pennsylvania, one student from Pennsylvania, two students from Illinois, from Chicago, a student from Michigan, a student from Georgia and two students from North Carolina including myself. We partook in an act of civil disobedience doing a sit-in, blocking a street in downtown Atlanta in the middle of Georgia State University campus on the road that leads to the Capitol Building. To sit down and to tell it first of all to tell it to those, there's a ban on the five top universities in Georgia. That if you're undocumented you cannot go to those five, but you can go to the rest, which is totally, I'll even say discriminatory. Because there are different, all of these bills popping up in North Carolina, there is a ban in South Carolina, there just around the country the same thing. And out of solidarity there are also students from Michigan, from Chicago, Illinois, that have that privilege even though they are undocumented, some of them going to four-year colleges and paying in-state tuition. Like us and even Pennsylvania they are paying out-of-state tuition. We came together and did this. That we were not going to tire that we want an education, we are not going to comply with the ban to education and that if this is what it takes for people to wake up and to understand, not only citizens but every single human being living in the United States to understand that we want an education that we are human beings and we are being denied that. If that's what it takes then we're going to do it. We have learned from the past like in the 1960s when the Civil Rights Movement was going on, it took a lot of people to do a lot of civil disobedience, people getting arrested forty times to in order to change the things that [mumbles] has today. If people didn't do that back then, we wouldn't have that today what it is today. We would still have segregation. So I am a supporter of civil disobedience. If that's what it takes for people to understand it than that's what it takes. If there's people willing to do it, then so be it.
AE: So what happened as a result of the civil disobedience?
JR: What happens?
AE: What happened to you and the students who blocked the street?
JR: We got arrested, [cough] Are you going to share this with just the school? [tape pause]
JR: So we were detained, we were there for almost twenty five hours. There I saw how DREAM eligible youth were treated. We're treated differently from other people. We weren't deported, we weren't processed quickly enough as the other inmates. I'm sure that if it were my mom being there, she would have been deported by now. But because we are DREAM eligible, because the Secretary of State Janet Napolitano said that we were not going to be targeted. That in itself shows [sic] how the system is not working. That the laws need to change because we are not getting deported, but we're not getting any relief. We're left in this limbo of uncertainty. What are we going to do? We're not getting deported, we're standing, putting our lives on the line for our community, which moved us to do this in the first place. There is this answer from the government, I am still here along with the other six students that had the courage and the bravery to do it. We have that feeling, we're still here, nothing is going on, and the system clearly broke down, the system clearly is not working. If that what it takes us to do, a civil disobedience, to realize what was going on and for the entire university to see [cough] that we are here and we're going to stay here. The government is allowing us to stay here. We were [sic] released and what's the next step to do. More civil disobedience? More direct action? If we don't see any movement from the government or the politicians we have to change the laws that are criminalizing our existence. We have to change that because it's not right. No human being should be treated like that, not differently from anybody else. That's why it's really important.
AE: One final question, in your opinion what do you see as the American dream?
JR: The American dream? When I lived in Mexico I honestly thought that it was the best thing ever. I thought that the people, everything was alright here in the United States. But now that I live here, I don't think the American dream fills you. If you think the American dream is just having a lot of money, being successful, but still that doesn't fill you in your heart. That doesn't fill you with who you are. If you're not happy, you're not attaining any dream. I'll say that the American dream, it's what you want it to be. It's what you want to see in your community. And I don't know, that might not even qualify as an American dream but my dream is for everyone to have the same opportunities, for each student to be treated equally, even if you're undocumented you need to have the same opportunities that everyone has. To be able to go to school without being persecuted from driving without a license or you know? That's my dream, that's what I would like to see. It is not much of a personal goal, but I've done a lot of things for my community and I wouldn't feel right to attain my personal goals and see that my community is still being persecuted is still being in fear, still being in shame. So, there might not even be an American dream. I don't know, that's my opinion on that.
AE: Okay, thank you very much.
JR: Thank you Ariel.