My mom immigrated from Mexico to the United States in 1996 against her will. Her boyfriend at the time convinced her to go away with him to California when she was 16 years old, and my mom thinking she was in love, moved with him. When she did this, she didn't say goodbye to her family and became estranged from her family for a couple of years. When her relationship with her boyfriend started getting abusive. My mom decided to seek help from her siblings who were living in California at the time as well. Although my mom wasn't forced to cut communication with her family, she felt incredibly guilty and ashamed for leaving her mom like that. My mom grew up in a religious household, as a Jehovahs Witness, so when my mom finally confronted my grandmother at age 19, she was so nervous of being shunned. To her surprise, my grandmother was incredibly happy to see her and she was glad that she was safe. My mom felt an immense amount of relief, but even to this day my mom feels incredible guilt and shame and will always remember her immigration story as a time she abandoned her mom.
– Juliana Miguez