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Sylvia Garcia

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Sylvia Garcia was born in California in 1980. Her father was a Mexican immigrant and her mother born in the United Stated. During childhood the family would travel back to Mexico every December.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. Please contact Immigration History Research Center staff for permissions not covered by this Creative Commons license.

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My name is Sylvia, and this is my immigrant story.

My father is an immigrant from Michoacan, Mexico. Every December we would return to my father's native land for my grandparents' corn crop harvest. As my father worked the land, I played with my cousins and tasted the wondrous foods of my father's youth. I roamed freely and felt the earth of my father's people consume me. For one month each year, I was Mexican!

My mother is an American; born and raised in a small town in California. My parents met, married, and had three children: Sylvia, the beautiful eldest princess, Salvador (Junior) the jokester middle child, and Ricardo (Ricky) the shy baby of the family. Although my father is a Mexican immigrant, we were raised on American wholesome values. My father worked for the same agricultural company in California up until his retirement. He started his trade as a field laborer and eventually worked his way up to field supervisor. My mother worked as our homemaker. I am proud to say they are still married today, despite the many hardships they have had to endure throughout the years.

Although I would like to say that my family has lived the American Dream, I simply cannot. We have not been given our American rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In fact, it may be argued that we have been robbed of these rights outright. My parents watched both of their strong sons struggle with racial profiling on a daily basis, and despite all efforts to encourage empowerment, they were essentially forced to helplessly watch their underage children fall prey to our country's distorted system. I wish I could say that was the worst my parents had to endure, but again, I cannot.

In 2005 I met and eventually married an undocumented Mexican immigrant. He was extremely controlling and psychologically abusive. While I knew that my family would support my efforts to flee, I was not willing to abandon my parents, brothers, nieces, and nephews to the inevitable backlash of his wrath. On December 24, 2012 I was finally liberated from my terrifying 7 year ordeal, but it came with a price. On Christmas Eve 2012, my parents, baby brother, and I were forced to watch our strongest eldest son, brother, friend, uncle drown in his own blood after he was shot by my then husband. Although it was the end of a world I still deeply cherish, it was not our end! My brother's passing strengthened my family's faith in God. "No one has greater love than a person who lays down his life for his friends" (John 15:13). My family understands that the devil comes to "...steal, kill, and destroy" (John 10:10), and we refuse to give victory to the darkness. Instead, we praise our Lord on high for his love, mercy, and sacrifice. Our Father Jehovah has not burdened us with anything He has not asked of His own Son Jesus Christ!

We are Mexican-Americans, and we will not be put in a corner. For "I am not born for one corner; the whole world is my native land" (Seneca the Younger). Although our American journey has been wrought with obstacles, my family continues to overcome. It is not that we are capable of enduring more than others, it is simply that we know who to lean on in times of despair! "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29:11).

My name is Sylvia, and that is my immigrant story.