The American Dream for immigrants, a generation later

By Story of America Team

Arline Pabros GuerreroI’m proud and glad to be an American. My sisters and I are first-generation Filipinas born in the USA. My father came to America in the 30’s, fought as an American soldier in WWII, my mother came in the 40’s, went to school to obtain her citizenship. They came to have a better quality of life and worked very hard to provide the same for their children.

My husband and his siblings are also first generation born in the USA and are of Mexican descent. His parents also worked very hard to make a good life for their children. We both are proud of our respective cultures. Having both visited and enjoyed our parents’ homeland we are glad our parents’ chose America to be our homeland. My husband’s and my parents made sure we grew up appreciating our lives here. We both understand why people immigrate to America and understand the immigration situation which is one of the many issues that divides this country.

I believe what unites people in America is the pride of living in a country where there is hope and knowledge that there is potential to provide all its citizens with work, a safe, decent place to live, food, clothing as well as education and health care. This is seemingly impossible in many other countries. How we get to the point where this is a reality for all Americans is what divides the country.

Arline and Jesse GuerreroOur family, along with so many others in this country, found ourselves struggling financially due to the 2008 financial crisis. In 2002, after 33 years, I took an early retirement to take care of my permanently disabled husband. In 2006 we got scammed into a real estate investment that I thought would help assure financial security for my family should something happen to me but it turned out to be bogus. I had to go back to work in 2006. We filed charges against the company and finally won our case in court and with the Department of Real Estate this year. We will probably not recoup much of our money since the owner of the company will be doing federal time for scamming others.

Because we mortgaged our home for the investment, we found ourselves, like many others, with a home worth less than the mortgage and, with rising medical costs for my husband, struggling big time to make ends meet. We learned about and tried refinancing through Obama’s Home Affordable Mortgage Program, HAMP and went through the process for most of this year but didn’t qualify. Fortunately, we did qualify and will be closing on a refinance through Obama’s Home Affordable Refinance Program this week.

We are so thankful and now know at least one of our President’s plans to help people get back on their feet will work. We also have hope, that with continued vigilance and guidance from citizens, he and our government will make the right choices to meet the challenges our country and the world faces. This country and the world aren’t perfect and probably aren’t meant to be but the challenge of doing what is right is where people of our country and the world are always united.