Local photographer illuminates the many faces of immigration
Iliana Perez. Research analyst at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and doctoral candidate. Born in Mexico. "My family came here in 1995 from Mexico, from near Mexico City. The reason we made the difficult choice to come is because there was an economic recession in Mexico at the time. My parents were facing extreme economic hardships so they made the decision, like millions of other individuals, to come to this country so my younger brother and I could have a better life. ...
I have known I was undocumented since I was very young. My parents stressed the importance of education very early on, since we were in Mexico. So, I did excel in school from the moment I got here ... .
Anybody can come to this country, invest, and start a business. We all get either a Social Security Number or an ITIN Number, and everybody can pursue entrepreneurship as long as we pay our taxes. I began working as an independent contractor with my degree in math and started to think about how all this tied in with immigration. I am currently a DACA recipient so I do have relief from deportation. But it is estimated that about 900,000 undocumented individuals across the country are entrepreneurs. They may not be able to get work authorization, but they can hire US citizens.
So, in contrast to the idea undocumented immigrants are stealing jobs, many individuals are actually creating jobs for other folks."