Hillary sees immigrants as part of the American family

I’ve spent my career helping immigrants contribute to this country

When I was 23 years old, I moved to Virginia from Puerto Rico. Although I didn’t speak much English when I moved here, I was lucky to have had people in my life to help me along the way to learn English and achieve all of my dreams.

That’s why, in 2001, I started “Building Better Futures” — a program designed to help young immigrants like me to assimilate and learn English. The year I began the program, we had only ten students in Alexandria, the second year I had 30 students, then 70, then 120. By 2011, we had 250 students, 98% of whom went on to graduate from high school.

The program was initially designed for Spanish-speaking students to learn English, but demand grew and we began providing college prep for high school students and family education for young students. We started getting requests from Middle Eastern students, African students, and Asian students. We wanted every immigrant student to learn English; we wanted to help them succeed.

I was recognized by Governor Tim Kaine for my work, and was appointed to the Virginia Board of Psychology. But all I ever wanted to do was to help young immigrants succeed in America. I wanted them to understand that America is a melting pot — a place where they can succeed despite not having been born here.

I no longer run the mentorship program. I now serve as a the Family and Community Engagement Manager for a school division in Alexandria, but I often see students who I tutored years ago. Many have graduated from college and are living productive lives, giving back to Virginia, paying taxes, and raising strong families.

I admire Hillary Clinton because she sees the struggles of these families as humans, not parasites or free-loaders. Immigrants want to contribute and they want to assimilate. They want to be part of the American dream; Hillary understands that. That’s why I’ve spent so much of the past few weeks knocking on doors, making phone calls, and doing whatever I can to make sure Hillary Clinton wins in Virginia and becomes our next president.

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