My name is Maria Gomez. I am from Mexico. I came to N.Y. in October 1999. I am a student at the ESOL immigrant service program at Sunnyside Community Services. The day I decided to come to the United States, I remember that I was exited -- because I have never travelled to another country and for the first time I would get on a plane. Some people told me that when they travel on air plane they felt like they were suffocating. I came here to support the family and to have a better future. I would have to take the risk of coming here. The first night we slept on the floor with one blanket, and for that first time I questioned if coming here was worth the risk. But one week later I started working at a factory. Cutting treads from different clothes, from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. six days a week. With the money that we earned to save within one year we had our own apartment. We started to have a better life. Despite the fact that I haven’t seen my mom in 19 years, I know she’s okay. The last time I saw her, she was young. In the present day I am extremely grateful with this country. I have three children, and they speak two-languages. They have lots of opportunities.
– Maria Gomez Zarate