Working in media in New York City, I've heard plenty of my liberal coworkers and friends joke about how they plan to leave the United States if Donald Trump wins the election. But it’s no laughing matter to me. In my case, a win for Donald Trump could mean leaving my immediate family, my friends, and my job to return to a country I haven't seen since I was 10 years old. The fear of losing the life I have built for myself over the past 15 years crystalized when I turned in my final college assignment almost three years ago. I should have been ecstatic, relieved, and happy; excited for what the future would hold like my other cap-and-gown-donning classmates. Like them, I was feeling the stress of finding a job after graduation and paying off my student loans. Like them, the prospect of beginning my career and building a life seemed daunting. But I had something even bigger to worry about: whether I would be legally allowed to stay in the country at all.
Along with my mother and two sisters, I boarded a plane and transported my entire life to the other side of the planet. Several days later, my father joined us with $500 in his pocket.
When I started school, I felt immediately isolated…I dressed differently and brought hot dogs and rice for lunch while my classmates ate sandwiches.
By the time senior year rolled around, my visa had run out. As a young, undocumented, college student, I was terrified.
I moved to New York to stay with my sister, and waited for that fateful email…that would decide my future. In the meantime, I worked as a nanny under the table for a family in the city.
My sister, a green card holder, was able to see my brother walk down the aisle with his wife. The rest of us had to FaceTime the first dance.