lives in Los Angeles, but she wasn't born in the United States.
Maria crossed the border from Mexico when she was 10 years old.
Since then, she, like millions of other illegal immigrants who
have made the same trip, has had to live with the "criminal" label.
Cruzando la frontera, siendo solo una niņa
Sin saber de leyes, sin saber de borders, fronteras.
Disguising myself, pretending to be Alice. I was 10, she was eight.
My hair was cut. To them, I seemed younger. To me, it was just
a game. I was
Playing dress up. My dress came off.
I looked too "ethnic."
I needed to look American,
He said, "Don't sit like that. Put your feet on the seat, cross
them, like an Indian."
"Now pretend that you're sleeping.
Don't wake up!
Don't look up!
Crossing la frontera,
It was 11:00 p.m. or 12:00 a.m.
I didn't eat anything, I didn't say anything,
I couldn't cry.
I missed my mom, I missed my dad, and my little brother. I hadn't
seen them for 3 years.
My sister was my strength. My sister was my partner in crime.
We were both illegal, committing a crime.
Didn't even know it.
It was just a game.
I wanted to see mom.
She wanted to see dad.
We wanted our parents.
That was not a crime.
Crossing la frontera
De Tijuana a San Diego.
Riding in a car with a stranger
Who did not know mom.
She was expecting some money. I was expecting my mom.
I had a Mickey shirt, I had a cute pink hat.
Crossing the border. It was not a crime.
by Maria for Youth Radio