Junior Azul Ramirez Ruiz felt that child immigration should be the topic of her interview. She was born in Tlatelolco, Mexico City, and immigrated to the United States when she was one and a half years old.
“I entered [the U.S.] under a TV-D Visa, which is given to the dependants of those who work under the USMCA sectors,” said Ramirez. “At the beginning, I went back to Mexico regularly, splitting between an apartment here and a house back in Tlatelolco.”
Azul shares that she remembers her first years as bits and pieces of both countries, constantly finding herself in between.
“Being an immigrant child has impacted every aspect of my life,” said Ramirez.
When asked if she would change any of her experiences with immigration, Azul, reminiscing about her journey, pointed out that she “couldn’t” change any of her experiences even if she wanted to.
“It’s who I am,” said Ramirez. “It’s interwoven in my identity.”
Regardless, Ramirez believes there are too many things against immigrants’ journeys.
“I am, and always was legal,” said Ramirez. “However, my family and I faced too many restrictions and legalities against non-citizens.”
By categorizing them as blockades, Azul concludes there are insufficient systems to aid immigrants.
“Although the U.S. is not specifically required to help immigrants, especially illegal ones,” questioned Ramirez. “Why would you want to be actively against offering opportunities?”
Apart from being in Mariachi to connect with her heritage by “playing songs that she grew up hearing,” Azul is an active member of the art community at Churchill, where she “unconsciously” projects her culture through her art. But last year, she bumped into a blockade.
“Last year, I was going to participate in an art competition,” said Ramirez. “I already had my project planned, but when I was filling out the paperwork, a sign with an asterisk popped out:”
Proof of residency: SSN Required*
“I’m legal and still got denied entrance to an art competition because I’m not considered a citizen,” said Ramirez.
There are obstacles and blockades for child immigrants, but challenges exist for everyone. Azul will continue to advocate for her heritage and culture through music, art, and daily life decisions, hoping the future will bring more equality for her and other children in her position.