This narrative is about my own immigration: from Mexico to New York. I was born and raised in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico, with my parents and sister. At the age of seven, I realized myself that I was very much intrigued by the English language, and that was as much my parents needed to enroll my sister and I in a Catholic school in San Diego. . I have lived in Tijuana my whole life, and I crossed the border to go to school every single day for 12 years, until I graduated from high school.
I came to New York to continue my higher education in the city where all dreams seem possible. Every time I travel, I carry with me my student visa along with my I-94, and my I-20. My student visa, the F-1, allows me to study at a U.S institution for a period of time. Fordham provided me with an I-20, which actually took me countless phone calls and rude encounters to obtain, and this basically proves I am enrolled in a U.S institution and can afford to pay for such studies. Lastly, the I-94 essentially allows me to extend my visit in the U.S and is in a way, the arrival and departure record for customs. Without any one of these, I could not possibly cross the border, or attend school where I am. My migration story is that which I hope to extend to my children, and offer them the same opportunities my parents did me, perhaps even more. I grew up in two countries: Mexico and the U.S., and I consider both home. My parents do not speak English and my story begins with me.
– Erika Pichardo-Ley