By Jonathan Cortez
My name is Jonathan Cortez. I am 24 years of age and I am from Veracruz, Mexico. I currently live in Fellsmere, Florida. I am the oldest child and I have three younger sisters. I was born on February 2nd, 1989. I attended Sebastian River High and I went to Indian River State College for two years. My current occupations include: DJ, photographer, video and film producer, web developer, computer technician and computer repair specialist.
I came here to the U.S when I was about six years old, and my life as an immigrant has been tough. We came here to this country to have a better life and a better education. My parents spent over 10 years as migrant farm workers, so I never got to finish a year in school because I had to move so much. It was sad moving from state to state, but my parents recognized that it had to be done to support our family.
There are many people like me who can succeed in life, but are not permitted to do so because we are considered “criminals” that broke the law by coming to the U.S. I struggle with my business due to not having a driver’s license. I struggle to find and keep a steady job, due to having no social security number. I struggle to continue my studies and to become someone in life, because it’s hard for me to attend a state university or college. I have the knowledge and the certificates, as well as a $10,000 scholarship offer, to continue my education. But ever since my graduation in 2008, I haven’t been able to attend school. As an immigrant, there are so many things that I am capable of doing, but like others I’m kept in the shadows.
This is what many immigrants and farm workers go through in the U.S. We want the opportunity to continue our studies, have a valid driver’s license, not be separated from our families, and to continue working. We are all people – human beings – who are no different from one another. We all laugh. We all have feelings. We all eat, and look for the same thing in life. We are people with minds and we are not given the opportunity to have our voices be heard.
While I wait for the country to decide our fate as immigrants, I have applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. My name is Jonathan Cortez and this is my story.
Reprinted with permission from the National Farm Worker Ministry.