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Up until about the age of twelve, I thought everyone was Mexican and Catholic. I also thought that everyone who attended school received free lunches and their grandparents spoke only Spanish. I didn’t have my first Caucasian friend until I was fifteen years old. His name was Andrew McMillian. Before that, all of my friends were like me, Mexican American, and had very similar backgrounds. Growing up as a Mexican American, especially as a male, my community did not see education as a priority. Instead of having the support and encouragement to do well in school, priority was given to immediate work rather than pursuing higher education. However, I was fortunate enough to see the long term benefits of continuing my education, though to many in my Mexican American community I was being lazy and trying to get out of having a full time job. Until recently, I viewed a college education as something only very few people would ever have the opportunity of obtaining. Because of this, I never believed I would ever have a decent shot at attending law school. This was, and still is the mentality of the average individual who grows up in the border-town of Brownsville, Texas.
When I attended college, I found out that not all public schools offer their students free lunch. Schools in the Brownsville Independent School District were able to offer their students free lunch because more than half the population in Brownsville lives below the poverty line. Growing up in Brownsville I did not think of myself as a member of a minority group or as contributing to the diversity of society. I began to notice how much I did not blend in when I entered college. I was given the opportunity to attend an academic seminar in Washington D.C. It was at this seminar that I noticed how unique of an individual I was. Between my peers in college and the individuals I met at the academic seminar I realized that I have a perspective on life that is filled with passion and compassion for others, especially the less fortunate. I noticed that I am a unique person, aside from my ethnic diversity; I have a wealth of diverse life experiences that have shaped my outlook not only on life, but also on the law and its function in our society.
I am a strong believer in the idea that we should all have the right to a fair trial with adequate representation. I revert back to two life experiences that have forced me to realize the importance of this notion of a fair trial. When I was seventeen my close friend’s brother, Albert, was murdered in Tyler, Texas. He was shot four times in the back; he was running away from an individual who was trying to rob him of his chain. I still remember the funeral and I can still hear his mother screaming, “they took my baby”. The police arrested the individual who murdered him and I remember hoping that he would suffer, I was angry. I wanted his trial to be over quickly and hoped that he would be sentenced mercilessly. However, I realized that I was being a hypocrite. When I was fifteen years old my friend, Jesse, murdered someone. At the time I had hoped somehow he would be found innocent, given an extremely light sentence or even get off on some sort of a technicality. Now of course I realize that we have to face the consequences of our actions. So, I realized that it is fundamentally important for our legal system to be fair and impartial. It should not be driven by emotions, but rather by facts. I see it as an important aspect of the lawyer’s profession to adequately convey their client’s side, and each side should be given an equal opportunity to be heard in a court of law.
The life experience that fueled my interest in immigration law was when my closest friend throughout high school, Luis Villa, was deported. He was born in Matamoros, Tamulipas, Mexico and when he was about eleven months old his family moved to the United States. From then on they were classified as illegal immigrants. Luis recently was pulled over by the police in Brownsville, Texas and it was discovered that he was an illegal immigrant. He was then deported back to Matamoros. Although Matamoros is where Luis was born, it is not his home. Luis has virtually no family in Mexico other than very distant relatives. He has lived in the United States practically his entire life. Luis and his family have made Brownsville their home, and now he will never be able to return to the place he calls home. This story is difficult for me to think about since Luis would spend weekends at my house and we were very close. The only difference between Luis and I is that he was born on the other side of the border. Because of this, he is unable to have the same opportunities that I have. This experience adds to the diversity I bring as a student because most people do not actually know someone who is considered an illegal immigrant. It allows me to look at the immigration system in our country as being a system that needs to be re-evaluated. I also see that the immigrant struggle is the story of my ancestors, and had they not gone through that struggle I would not have the great opportunities that I have today. My life experiences and my geographic and ethnic diversity will provide a significant contribution to the law school intellectual community.
(Personal Statement Examples, Advice, Critique, . . . )
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