Julissa's Open Road
Open Doors for Other People (1:06)
Take the Risk (0:57)
Becoming Undocumented (1:27)
Having Papers Doesn't Define Me (1:18)
Constant Reminders (1:37)
Money & Happiness (3:15)
Activist / Author
My (Underground) American Dream
If I wasn't going to achieve my dreams, it wasn't going to be because I didn't try.
- She originally came to the U.S. when she was 11 on a tourist visa; when she was 14, that tourist visa expired, but she remained.
- She knew she was undocumented, but she didn’t know how much that would affect her life.
- Paid her way through the University of Texas, Austin by running a funnel cake stand, but when that was shut down by the city of San Antonio, she realized she’d need to find new employment.
- Finding a new job meant she’d have to buy fake papers—which scared her—but she didn’t want to give up, move back to Mexico, and lose out on all her hard work.
- Instead, she decided that she wasn’t going to let her lack of papers define her; instead, she’d be defined by her hard work, ambition, and intelligence.
- She got a job at prestigious Wall Street firm, Goldman Sachs, and steadily rose through the ranks; however, the stress of her secret kept gnawing away at her, and she eventually quit.
- After seeing Jose Antonio Vargas’ documentary, Undocumented, she decided to speak out about her own story, quickly gaining national fame.
- In 2015, she became an American citizen, but she still acts as an advocate for immigration reform, recently penning a book about her struggles called My (Underground) American Dream.