The temporary legal status of a quarter-million Salvadoran immigrants is set to expire in July of next year. Youth Radio’s Andrea Jiménez describes her parent’s dream when they came to the United States.
I am my parents’ American Dream. My parents brought me to the United States from El Salvador when I was 5. I was upset that my parents took me to an unknown place, where kids taunted me for my accent and laughed when I didn’t understand.
In elementary school, I struggled to learn English. But once I became fluent, I felt superior to my parents. I became frustrated with them for not being like the parents I saw on TV. When I had to translate at the supermarket, or at parent-teacher conferences, I felt embarrassed and burdened by my family. One day, my aunt asked me what a word meant. I snapped at her, “Why don’t you just learn English?”
I watched as the light left her face. At that moment, I realized the impact of my words. In my effort to assimilate--I was no longer a person I liked. I’d suppressed my roots and become ashamed of my family.
In middle school, I learned about the treatment of immigrants in the U.S and the prejudice they -- or, rather, we -- faced. I saw how my parents were viewed as inferior, because of their broken English and their humble jobs.