Citizenship and Identity

On January 28, 2011, Sandra became a citizen of the US.  Her family gained citizenship around the same time.  Although the Gonzalez family did not initially intend on becoming US citizens, as they spent more time in the US, they realized it was a good idea to apply for citizenship.  It took them five years from when they got their green card, but they did not start thinking about it until two years after they moved, so they were only trying to gain citizenship for three years.  Vladimir is afraid that if the Republicans win and enact more stringent immigration reform, then those who are not citizens will be deported.  For this reason, and that he thought it would give Sandra and Carina more opportunities, he decided that the family should obtain citizenship.  Since becoming a citizen, Sandra hasn’t noticed too many changes except that there are now more scholarships that she can apply for.  Also, both she and her mom and really excited to vote in the next elections.  Her extended family back in Mexico is really excited that they have all gained citizenship because “people look up to US standards like a lot,” especially in Northern Mexico.

Although Sandra is now a US citizen, she still very much identifies with being Mexican.  In fact, she just really doesn’t feel like she’s American.

Since Dartmouth is so “pro diversity,” Sandra feels that since coming to Dartmouth, she had become even more proud of her Mexican identity.  She also feels that her interests are “influenced by…having lived in Mexico for like eleven years.”  For example, her majors in Economics with a focus in development and Spanish are both related to her interests in development, especially in Latin America.  If she doesn’t end up working in development, she thinks she will go into immigration law, which is also directly related to her experiences moving from Mexico to the US.  For Sandra, “anything that studies like Mexico or like studies Latin America or studies like literature or anything related to that” she really likes.

When asked about how she thinks her life would have been different had she stayed in Mexico, Sandra admits that she wonders the same thing.  She speculates that she probably would have dressed differently, maybe wearing more Abercrombie and Aeropostle, and that she may have been a little fatter or skinnier.  The Gonzalez family would have moved to a bigger house.  Soon after moving to Austin, the family considered moving back to Mexico and during that time they had looked at houses in Mexico that were bigger than her old house.  She says the biggest difference would be that, although she would have gone to a good school, she definitely would not have gone to a school as good at Dartmouth.

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