Standing the Test of Time
Diversity Service Center of Iowa
Educational Outreach Program
My name is Alan, and I am from Mexico. I entered the U.S. in 1995 at the age of 12 after crossing the border through California with my mother, two brothers, and one sister. We came to the U.S. because my mom wanted a better life for us. She had to pay $1,000 for each of us to be crossed undocumented through the border. I was worried and nervous when I first arrived here. I didn't know where to go or what to do.
My mom eventually married a U.S. citizen and applied for all of us to get work permits and to start the permanent residence process. We got our work permits, but then my mom got divorced and we started having problems with immigration. The government said that we only had a certain amount of time to leave the country. I was scared when I thought I might get deported, because we had been here for six years and we had nothing left in Mexico and nowhere to go.
Later, I got married and applied for papers through my wife who is a U.S. citizen. We went to Rosa Mendoza at the Diversity Service Center of Iowa to have our paperwork done and find out how to apply for a green card. She helped us get everything we needed and provided guidance throughout the process. As a result, I will become a permanent resident sometime this year.