From Last Week: I feel like I never had a childhood; I had so many people depending on me

I was ten years old when we moved to the States. My mom and dad came with me, and we left my brother and sister with my aunt back in Bolivia. The plan was that we would try to bring them here once we got things in order. Eight years passed in a heartbeat. We left my siblings behind when they were seven and eight, respectively.

The next time my mother saw them, they were teenagers. My aunt passed away from cancer and my mom had to go back to Bolivia. She’s there now, taking care of my siblings and my aunt’s children, too. I haven’t seen her in three years. This has torn our family apart, and the only solace I feel is in knowing that it’s for a greater good.

I played soccer in high school and I was very good. I had opportunities to play overseas, but I couldn’t because I’m not a citizen. We came here with a visa that we overstayed, so we’ve been illegal with no road to citizenship. There aren’t very many job opportunities for people like me, so my dad told me that I had to work construction with him. I started when I was 18, right after I graduated high school.

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