With the debate over immigration reform at the forefront of the 2016 presidential race, 'My (Underground) American Dream' author Julissa Arce weighed in on her experiences growing up as an undocumented immigrant, achieving success on Wall Street and the heated rhetoric on the presidential campaign trail.
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“Life is very tough as an undocumented immigrant, you’re constantly facing challenges in every single thing you do has bigger consequences, right? So, anything from every time you get behind the wheel of a car you’re breaking the law because we’re not able to get driver’s licenses,” Arce told the FOX Business Network’s Maria Bartiromo.
It even made getting an education more challenging for Arce.
“Going to college, getting an education is way more challenging because there are no resources for us in terms of financial aid. So, it’s a very difficult existence and one that is full of sacrifice in order for us to be here.”
Arce explained that she did not come to America by crossing the border as is often portrayed.
“I came here when I was 11 years old, to be reunited with my parents with a tourist visa. And that is often something that people forget about, not every undocumented immigrant crossed the border.”
But after her visa expired three years later, she remained in America.
“My visa expired when I was 14 years old and that’s when I became an undocumented immigrant.”
Arce then recounted a scary moment while working at Goldman Sachs when she received a letter from the IRS that her Social Security number did not match their records.
“It was a really scary day for me getting that letter and thinking everything is going to be over now. And I got that letter from the IRS because I pay taxes and undocumented immigrants pay taxes. We’ve paid over $100 billion into the Social Security Fund over the last decade. So this rhetoric that immigrants don’t pay taxes is just not true.”
Arce explained that even though she got false documents to be able to work at Goldman Sachs, it was her education and work ethic that got her the job.
“I was lucky, but I also worked really hard to earn that job [at Goldman Sachs]. So, the fake papers were sort of the ‘check the box’ of having the documents, but it really was my education and my hard work that earned me the job and that earned me every promotion that I had there after.”
Arce responded to Donald Trump’s rhetoric on the campaign trail and whether there was anything he could do to boost his support among the Latino community.
“I don’t really think there is anything that Donald Trump can do to earn the Latino vote. There’s certainly nothing he can do to earn my vote. He has for a year, over a year, demonized my entire community.”
Arce then took on the rhetoric that immigrants take jobs away from Americans.
“I helped to create jobs, my team was two of us when I first started and by the time I left Goldman [Sachs], my team was eight people.”