My Name Is Magaly: Community Leader, Homeowner, Taxpayer, and Undocumented Mother

I was 23 years old when I crossed the U.S.-Mexico border with my husband, aunt, and cousin.

Before we came to the United States, we lived in a community in Veracruz. My husband was in the Mexican Army, but the money he made was not enough to cover our expenses or to provide for our little daughter, "Normita."

After five years in the Mexican Army, my husband was honorably discharged, and together we came to the U.S. in search of a better life. This meant that we had to leave our daughter in the care of her grandparents, which was difficult for us to do.

Nonetheless, it wasn't long after we arrived that we arranged to bring our daughter to the U.S. She was about to turn 5 and start school. My husband went to Veracruz to get Normita, and this is how she became one of many children who cross the border to be reunited with their parents.

We both worked really hard to get ahead – I as a babysitter and my husband as a lawnmower. In fact, since arriving in the U.S., my husband has worked two jobs. He has never stopped working, and he has always fought to provide for his family.

With God's blessing we had three more children. Today Normita is 16 years old and an 11th grader in San Benito, Texas. We live here, our home is here, and this is where we are happy. We own our home, and we pay our taxes.

Currently I'm a community leader with the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas. I contribute to my "colonia" by teaching the community their rights – rights they have regardless of their immigration status and regardless of whether or not they are immigrants.

When the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was announced in 2012, Normita was very happy, because she knew she could qualify, and this would open a door to many opportunities that she didn't have before. In 2014, she was finally able to apply for DACA and is now waiting for an answer.

After President Obama's announcement of the new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program, my husband and I were overjoyed. However, our children were also relieved because now my husband and I can go to work and even go to the supermarket in peace and without the fear of being deported.

We know that this is only the beginning. The fight won't end until all of the undocumented have an opportunity to come out of the shadows.

*Magaly, the author of this article, prefers to go by her first name only.

Learn more about immigration reform and other civil liberty issues: Sign up for breaking news alertsfollow us on Twitter, and like us on Facebook.

View comments (6)
Read the Terms of Use


The reason you were living in the shadows is because you entered the US illegally and were violating numerous US labor laws. The reason you have no documents is because there are no documents for you to have. How is any of this even an ACLU issue? No one in your family is a US citizen and the fact that you're happy that Obama is trying to give you some charity still doesn't make any of this an ACLU issue.

But if you just want to talk about illegal immigration on the ACLU's blog, how is it you paid all your taxes if you were both working cash jobs as illegal immigrants? How in the world did you pay all the necessary taxes? This makes no sense. Were you engaging in identity theft? Homeowners were filling out tax forms to keep social security expenses when he mowed the lawn? I'm very curious to find out. Also, why made you decide to violate our laws just because "you wanted a better life". There are millions of things anyone can do to have a better life. Do you know why the US has labor laws? Do you know who's jobs you and others are taking when you break US laws? You think no one would cut lawns or babysit children if Mexico didn't exist? They don't have lawns, children, or jobs in Mexico? They don't have immigration and labor laws in Mexico? Would it be permissible for US citizens to enter Mexico and violate their labor laws? Would that make them a hero? Would they be groundbreaking freedom fighters?

How would you like it if I crashed your house sometime and just did whatever I thought was right for me? What if I told you I was a good person and God has blessed me.

But again, you are not an American citizen. What does any of this have to do with the ACLU? What rights are you claiming you should have or have somehow lost? What liberties are you claiming you are entitled to as a criminal in the US?


But that's was exactly what white people did!! started killing the native americans to take over their land and now you come here and say all this ironic things for someone who cross a border to work hard and have a better future. It's sad because I know what latinos have to go through and I'm not even latino.


All illegal immigrants should go back to whatever country they came from and apply for immigration legally, skipping the line is illegal and that makes anyone who does it a criminal.


That's exactly what I thought in my history class, when europeans started coming illegally to America to take over lands. But you know, they were white so, I guess that was not a crime after all.


The line you refer to does not exist for the general public. It is not as simple as merely deciding to come legally.


if you are illegal, go home. The problem is this: there are 20 frikkin million of you - not just a few.

Stay Informed