The sun was bright, the heat was strong, and the smell of clean air filled the town. This description would normally be the detailed depiction of what heaven would be, but for my sister and I, this was hell.
A little bit of my back-story: Hello, my name is Uli Sanroman. I am a sophomore at Antioch College, and I love life. Previous to October,01,2019, I was also a DACA recipient, or as some may say, I was an illegal immigrant. I came to the United States of America when I was 2 yrs old. The method under which my siblings and I entered the country was very basic. We drove through the border; the only difference was that our parents weren’t with us. Instead of traveling with our parents to another country, we came in with family members who were US Citizens. As you may guess, we passed with no issue. Though my parents’ form of entry is not something that I would like to talk about, it was definitely not an easy path to walk. After waiting three months at our relatives home in Arizona, my parents finally arrived. They came back with 2% of the items that they took with them, and due to physical and mental abuse from others on the path, they only had $50 that my mother had hidden. To say the least, my parents were abused and hurt, but they knew what they were doing and for what reasonlsafety, education, freedom, and potential happiness. Although they weren’t happy at the time, they knew that they were back with their children. After sometime, we moved to Delaware, where we grew up, learned English, graduated from high school and started a college education. Throughout this time, we were in the process of becoming US residents. This process was very expensive (money that we didn’t/don’t have = large debt) and it was very time consuming; to be exact it took over 4 years.
While I was attending my first quarter of my 2nd year, I received an odd email. After reading the subject of the email, I just thought that it was a routine “the immigration process is still ongoing, please be prepared for any updates” email. These emails were normally sent, and with it being 4 yrs with the process, I wasn’t expecting anything. As soon as I opened the email while on my break between zoology and dinner, I was SHOCKED. My body was shaking uncontrollably as I read “Dear Mr. Sanroman, your immigration application has been revised and your appointment in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico will be on October 1st,2019”. To give you a sense of how freaked out I was, this email was sent early to mid September. Immigration doesn’t care what you’re doing, they just want you there. I immediately called my mom, and surprisingly, she was very calm. I come to later understand that she was internally freaking out, but didn’t want me to be anxious. We tried every route to this appointment, but ultimately it was decided that I would withdraw from the quarter and go home to Delaware before leaving for Mexico on this two-? week adventure. The reason that I say “?” is because immigration doesn’t care about you, There have been cases that have taken more than seven weeks, all because the visas wouldn’t arrive, or something was missed at the interview. You can now see why withdrawing from my fall quarter was the best option.
After arriving in Delaware, my family and I went to our amazing immigration lawyer, got everything situated, and we moved forward with plans for leaving for Mexico. This experience was actually really exciting since my sister had never flown on a plane, and it was my second in my lifetime (the first was the week before when I left for Delaware). After arriving at El Paso we were very excited. We saw amazing architecture, and the best part was driving through the border into Mexico. When we were finally in Mexico, we were so shocked. There were Wendy’s ads with takis burgers, and there were so many street food carts. It was amazing! This all rapidly changed as the days went on.
We were able to use our Spanish more frequently, and I even got obsessed with jalapeños (biting into a whole one after taking a bite of food). It was all well.
The night before our medical appointment (mandatory for immigration paperwork) we were preparing everything and then the need for our family and friends settled in. We were both falling into a small depression, mostly because we were in a country that we couldn’t leave from for who knows how long. It was starting to get hard, but everything was fine.
On the day of our medical appointment, we were all smiles and ready to just have a small blood test and be done with it, but little did we know that we were embarking on an physically and mentally abusive ride. When we arrived to get all of our registration filled, a nice lady welcomed us with a smile, she quietly said “hola, como estan? Con que les puedo ayudar?” this roughly translates to “Hello, how are you? What can I help you with?” we both smiled back and told her that we were here for our medical appointment as part of the US Embassy order for medical check. She looked at us and said “Para Visa de estudiante?” which translates to “is this for a student visa?”. We let her know that we were actually there for our residency, then her face completely changed. The attitude that came out of that once smiling face was pure disrespect. It was awful, but we continued. We experienced this same change in attitude with everyone working there. They asked us if we were there for a student visa with smiles, but responded with anger and hatred when we explained that it was for US permanent residency. Although I can go into detail what happened, my mental health comes first, so all I have to say is that I was stripped of clothing (completely naked in front of older men and even minors), physically hurt, forced to get medication and injections even when my medical records expressed that I had them, and the worst part was seeing my sister being treated the same. I would have given everything for me to be the only one to live that horror. This medical appointment ended with bruises, tears, anger, and overall devastation. Little did we know that this was the first step of a tall ladder.
To make everything worse, we were alone. The family that communicated with us such as my mother would check up on us all the time, but the people that we called family (close friends) seemed to disappear in the shadows. In the darkest time of my life, I felt so alone. I wanted this nightmare to be completely over! We had to continue the fight. We had to change gears and realize why we were living this awful experience. This was only the first night of appointments.
As I am writing this, I am in tears. I didn’t want to open up this box of emotion, anger, fear, and sadness. So I will end here. Anyone is welcome to come and ask for the whole story. But at the end I have never felt so lonely, weak, worthless, frustrated, or inhuman. This was the worse experience of my life. All I can say is that on our last day in Mexico when we got the email that our package had arrived with our visas, we started crying before knowing about flights, money, or security. We were finally going to go home.
The moral of the story is please have sympathy. Everyone has their own stories. Most people will never experience what I have, and still have the audacity to not call me an American, but guess what? I am as American as you, I am stronger than those who want to deny rights, and I will work as hard as possible to achieve my dreams. Not many people can say that they are in college, let alone tell people that they did everything while being an illegal immigrant.
Thank you for reading my story.
May God and Nature Be With You, Your Family, Your Friends, and Your Soul. Blessed Be <3
My name is Uli Sanroman. I am currently a freshman at Antioch College, as a self-design major in Animal Sciences. When I first began school last fall, we could say that I was very lost. I always believed that I would get my MD someday, simply because everyone told me that eventually if I went to medical school, I would be successful and happy. After countless conversations, I believed them.
As the co-op quarter for Spring 2019 was getting closer, I kept pushing on getting a co-op that would include doctor shadowing opportunities or wellness involvement. With that being said, I am now doing a co-op at the Antioch College Wellness Center. My positions are as a front desk worker, lifeguard, and outside of the Antioch College Wellness Center, I shadowed a pediatrician, dentist, and their management teams ( nurses, technicians, front desk workers..etc) at The Rocking Horse Clinic in Springfield, Ohio. To be very honest and blunt, I hated the way my life was heading!
The team that the Antioch College Wellness Center has is by far the best team that I have ever worked with, simply because they are nice, funny, smart, and excited to work! But whenever I am lifeguarding between 5:45-8:15 am or working the front desk for 6 hrs in a row, I can’t seem to feel as though I made the wrong decision.
At the beginning of co-op, I managed to balance lifeguarding, working the Wellness Center front desk and shadowing for 40+ hrs, a week. I loved being part of the community. Where I could contribute to someone’s physical success, even if that meant being at the pool early in the morning, to make sure that there was a lifeguard to open the facility. I also loved getting people checked in and comfortable at the clinic, as well as watching the procedures for educational purposes. Overall these experiences were amazing! The teams, the people, the feeling of care and excitement, it all made me feel whole and happy, but as previously stated, I still felt like I made the wrong decision.
One of the big reasons for feeling this way, was because shadowing at the Rocking horse clinic made me realize that human medicine is not right for me. At the Rocking Horse clinic in Springfield, Ohio, I watched procedures and helped with patient check-ins. During the beginning of the co-op, I loved being a part of an organization that helped the community, especially the lower class community of Springfield, Ohio. It made me feel grateful for the people that have worked together to keep a clinic like that strong, and open. But it also made me feel in a way, empty. I felt like I wanted to do a similar thing that The Rocking Horse Clinic was doing, but instead of having a health center for humans, the dream would be to open and manage a health clinic for animals. With the help of those at The Rocking Horse Clinic, I was able to understand that pursuing a DVM and opening an animal hospital was my life’s goal. Therefore, I left The Rocking Horse Clinic to work 30 hrs a week at the Antioch College Wellness Center. I did this to have more time to strategically outline the ways in which I can make my dreams come true. I am forever grateful to the team at The Rocking Horse Clinic, and when talking to them, they were fully understanding and knew that this was a part of life. Currently, I am working with them to see if we can get one of my friends from Antioch into their pediatric shadowing program, and to layout the ways in which people from Antioch can help during the holiday season at The Rocking Horse clinic, so there is no bad blood just love!
The first step to change was to accept that my path to success and happiness wasn’t to pursue an MD, with the help of staff at The Rocking Horse Clinic I now understand, to instead pursue a DVM post-undergrad. I have always loved animals, and after working with so many people this co-op, I realized that I talk a lot about animals, and how my childhood dream job was to work as a veterinarian at the adventure aquarium. With that being said, I am now trying to create a balance between working the front desk at the wellness center, and hopefully, later on, shadowing a veterinarian, or volunteering at the Antioch College Raptor Center. This co-op has been an amazing way to understand what I truly want to achieve in life, and what path I want to continue in my educational career here at Antioch College.