Homeward Bound

One Student’s Return to Her Native Mexico on a Journey to Seek U.S. Citizenship


Family Member

Reunited after 11 years.

Yarely D Aguilar, Staff Writer

My name is Yarely Aguilar and I am a senior at Morton West. I have been in America since 2012 when I was 6 years old. When I came to America, I left behind not only my people but my family as well, including my brothers. I grew up in Cicero IL, and although there was a lot of diversity in Goodwin, my elementary school, I had a lot of classmates who gave me a hard time for not speaking their language at such a grown age. By the time I was fluent in the language, my parents had already divorced and I had transferred out of 4 different schools, I was now living in West Lawn. At this point in my life, I had already gone through enough, and I was raising myself due to the lack of financial stability, making my mom work two jobs from 5 am to 3 pm and from 5 pm to 11 pm.  Through this time, my mom met my stepfather, Jose Luis. They worked together at her first job and after two years of my mom splitting with my biological father, she was going out with him.

Long story short, Jose Luis and my mom have now been married for 5 years. When my stepfather knew about our immigration he wanted to help as much as he could since he is an American citizen. While he petitioned me, we were in a waiting line for 3 years. The plan was to fix my citizenship in 2020 with no problems, as well as my brothers, and soon enough we would all be together, but that didn’t go as planned. When COVID started, everything got delayed and times started getting worse. Through this process of immigration and COVID, we moved once more and I was attending Morton West instead of East now. It wasn’t until March that our lawyer told us that in order to get my citizenship, I needed to come back to Mexico.

It is now April 26. I arrived in Mexico City, my place of birth, on April 17th, and after 11 long years, I was reunited with my brothers. After that, our journey to Ciudad Juarez began, where we would have an interview with an immigration officer from April 20th, 21st, 24th, and 25th.

I would say this has been a scary journey for me. I knew that if I was to deny this opportunity and stay in the US, my student rights would be less than an American child. For example, the hope of applying for FAFSA and getting federal government aid for school was not possible. I would also be at risk of deportation since immigration now had my information, and I did not want to live my life in fear. On the other hand, I was scared of coming back and being denied, therefore making my visit permanent.

As of now, my visa is on hold, I have not been denied, but I have also not been accepted, which is a very rare position since most usually get accepted or denied on the spot. My final goal from all of this would be to obtain my legal citizenship and come back to Chicago to keep my education going. I want to be able to go back home and graduate, making 2023 my best year possible, with not only my citizenship but my graduation, my 18th birthday, and moving out to college which is what really excites me!

Picture on upper left side taken by Jose Luis. Rest of collage was taken by Yarely Aguilar