LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Entering an election for the first time can be exciting for new voters. And pride is even greater for immigrant families. A Lafayette family finally feels like they have a voice.
Roxana Gonzalez is a mother who moved to Lafayette from El Salvador almost 20 years ago. This election was the first time that she could vote as a naturalized citizen. Although some things have not worked out in her favor this year, she finds hope through her children.
"It is really an honor to live in the US. It is a privilege to be here in this great country," said Gonzalez.
The search for a life with more possibilities brought Gonzalez to America in 2001. She was studying communications in El Salvador in her fourth year when she realized that it was very difficult to find a job and earn money there.
"I started looking for jobs and it was really hard, sometimes with just a dollar. It was so hard," said Gonzalez.
With her visa, she could move here and work towards her American dream. She originally had plans to return home, but now, with three children, all of whom were born in the States, she is here to stay.
"I think I fell in love with this place, this is my home," said Gonzalez.
As an immigrant campaigning for citizenship, eligible to vote, and having a voice in her community, she looked forward to it. That would be this year.
"I actually met all the criteria and the tax time came and I decided, okay, this is my time, but then Covid came along and still you have to think okay, which is important," said Gonzalez.
The difficulties of this pandemic have led Gonzalez to choose between paying citizenship fees or putting food on the table. But her daughter Daniela Gonzalez, who is eligible to vote this year, is now in the void for her family.
"We thought we would actually be voting together for the first time this year, but given the circumstances, we won't be able to," said Gonzalez. ""Your vote is actually a minority. "
"It's a privilege," said Daniela. "I am the first person in my family to vote for the first time. I want to honor this privilege a little."
Daniela hopes that all Americans, especially children of immigrant parents, understand their right to vote and take the opportunity to have a say in their government.
"Notice the privilege you have in voting because there are people who want to speak so badly, want to do something so badly, but they don't have to just sit back and take whatever happens, and that is likely the saddest thing that ever happened "said Daniela.
While Gonzalez was unable to apply for citizenship earlier this year, she has since sent in her paperwork thanks to her family who helped raise money.