Latino Giant of The Week: Isabel Vargas

I came from The Dominican Republic at the age of 8. My parents decided to migrate here in order to obtain a better future not only for themselves but for their children as well.

At a very young age my father always told me the importance of making sure that I had good grades.  He would say “ In the United States, nothing is impossible as long as you get good grades”. He would tell me that if I was good enough that universities would want for me to attend their school.

Growing up I always strived to get good grades. In 8thgrade, I received a scholarship to attend a private school. Throughout high school, my parents always told me that making it to college was going to be hard enough because of my immigration status. I clearly, wasn’t aware what status meant because in high school I kept applying to jobs without understand how my status would come to affect me.

At the age of 15, it’s when my immigration status started to really affect me. It was then that I became upset at the fact that I was in this country undocumented with no papers. The fact that I was not allowed to visit my home country, the fact that I was not allowed to drive, or even have a job. I became angry, but like some people say, anger leads to action.

I graduated from high school, regardless of what my counselor told me. I enrolled at a community college with the help of my parents and a summer job I had. I saved enough money to put myself through my first semester. At the age of 16, I got involved with a nonprofit organization that fights for the rights of students that are immigrants. My first involvement with the Student Immigrant Movement was co-founding the first chapter from Lawrence, MASS.

Later on, I organized a delegation of 55 students from Lawrence, MA all the way to march in Washington, DC with thousands of other immigrants across the country.  In April 2010, I came out for the first time in Harvard University as being undocumented and unafraid. I remember feeling afraid and nervous but at the same time knowing that it was necessary in order to create change. I knew that in order for things to change that it was going to take others to take charge.

Throughout my involvement with immigrant rights group I have been able to find out who I am as a person. Not only as a person but I have grown to be a proud, Latina woman. It is through learning about my community that I have learned many things about myself. Today, I am currently majoring at Salem State University where I am obtaining a degree in Political Science and Latin American Studies. I have a dream of one day becoming an immigration attorney and helping thousands of immigrants.

Originally from Bonao, Dominican Republic. Isabel Vargas immigrated to the United States at the age of 8 with her family. She is now a sophomore at Salem State University where she is pursuing a B.A in Political Science and Latin American Studies. Isabel is currently an organizer of the Student Immigrant Movement, a youth led organization in Boston that fights for the rights of immigrant students.  In the future, Isabel hopes to attend law school and become an immigration attorney.








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