My American experience … from dream to delusion by, Yesenia Veronica Gonzalez Ochoa

There was a loud knock at the door. My mother’s face turned pale, she grabbed my little sister as they turned to each other with a look of panic. The knock on the door we found out was from ICE. They entered our house with an order of deportation for my mom, someone had deported her to ICE. My mother did not do anything wrong she was only looking for better opportunities for the family. Thirteen years later my family is still separated.

My parents immigrated from Mexico to the US in order to have more opportunities. We settled in California and lived peacefully in Los Angeles. To this day I still ask myself, why is it that when people leave their home countries to look out for opportunities and give their

families the best, there are others who feel jealous of people who are achieving the

“American Dream”


As a result of the trauma of being deported and being separated our mental health has been affected. My family has been through a lot, and even though this happened, I still appreciate their sacrifices. They’ve worked really hard so that my sister and I can have opportunities they didn’t.


That’s why I’m in college because I want my parents to know that their hard work has paid off, and also because I want to be a clinical psychologist to advocate for mental health for people who have been through similar situations and help them with their mental health journey. My goal is to earn a doctorate, either PhD or PsyD in clinical psychology. I want to help people of color in their mental health journey. I am interested in doing research, which I am currently working on. My research interests include examining how different social issues affect mental health, so that I can better help my future patients.


Because of my persistence in wanting to foster change I am now a McNair Scholar, and I am

currently working on my research project, which examines the impacts of racism and discrimination on mental health. I’m also the creator of Latinxawareness and have a small jewelry business on Etsy with designs inspired by my mother.


This is something I wish never had happened to my family or to any other family, but

unfortunately, it happened. This experience has pushed me to keep moving forward and strive really hard in school and in life. It has taught me how to be resilient and never give up. Day to day, I feel empowered to achieve my dreams, make my parents proud, and thank them for their sacrifices. Additionally, I want to say that if you are a child of immigrants, let your parents know how much you appreciate everything they have done for you. Also, just because someone is undocumented, it does not mean that that person does not have rights.



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