Friday, August 3rd we sat with Eduardo Vargas in front of a cafe at USC. It was a sunny afternoon, clear blue sky, great weather to be outside enjoying some sun. We both grabbed a beet, carrot, lime, ginger juice, before we sat down to start the interview. The juice was really good by the way.
BYS: Hello Eduardo! Thank you for having us, we really appreciate your time. Can you please introduce yourself.
E.V: Thanks for having me. My name is Eduardo Vargas. I was born in and grew up in Urapan, Michoacan. I moved to the United States at eight years old and have lived in the IE and Southern California since then. Today, I am going into my second year of law school at USC and hope to become a successful lawyer sometime soon.
BYS: As a young immigrant child, was your first year in elementary here in the U.S. difficult? Congratulations on your acceptance into USC Law School, we’re sure that you’ll be a successful lawyer.
E.V: Elementary school was not difficult generally. However, third grade specifically was. Coming to the U.S. not knowing the language was intimidating and led to some bullying. I was able to focus on school and in learning the language. Eventually, I learned the language and overcame one of the first major challenges of my in the US.
BYS: Most young immigrants overcome this challenge, but what other challenges come next? Do you believe attending a Southern California elementary school made this challenge less difficult?
E.V:The most difficult thing was staying focused. There are so many ways that can lead one to make a bad decision that can end up negatively affecting your life as a whole. So, not only do I think that one needs to stay focused on whatever they are trying to achieve, but also be careful not to fall into any of the things that can set you back. Attending a school in Southern California was definitely a factor to my overcoming some of the difficulties. The schools kept me busy enough so that my focus could be on education. But school was not the only factor. My family was a great motivation and my friends have always been great influence and motivator to always reach higher.
BYS: At what age did you decide that being a lawyer was something you wanted to pursue and be for the rest of your life?
E.V: I think I decided to become a lawyer when I was going through my naturalization process. I was 15 at the time and we hired an immigration attorney to help us through the process. I was impressed by how someone with a law degree could change an entire family’s life simply by providing legal advice and making her knowledge available to us. I realized that I wanted to help others in a similar way. As I learned more about what it meant to be a lawyer, I grew more and more interested and eventually applied to law school.
BYS: Amazing! In a time like today, we need more immigration lawyers like you. Any words you would like to say regarding what is going on with immigrants in this country?
E.V: The only thing I can say is the times are extremely difficult at the moment. Immigrants of all backgrounds need to stay together and fight back to ensure our people can keep moving forward in this society. Fighting back doesn’t just mean going out to the streets and demonstrating, though that is very important. It also means educating yourself about the issues facing our communities and taking steps to address them. This can be from things as simple as volunteering at a community center to starting an organization whose purpose is to help immigrants. Fighting back can also take the shape of becoming leaders in the community and in oppressive systems. One of the most effective ways to change a system is to become a part of it and change it from within.
BYS: Thank you for addressing this issue. Lastly, what does the phrase “be yourself” mean to you and any advice to our youth?
E.V: To me, “be yourself” means having the courage to disagree with others when their actions or ideas conflict your own. This means being able to stand your ground to fight for and pursue what you believe in, regardless of outside pressures, whether the pressure is coming from family, friends, or your environment.
My advice directly correlates to this idea. As a young person, never be afraid to be yourself. Pursue your passions, but don’t do this blindly. Set a goal, figure out what you need to accomplish in order to achieve that goal, and no matter the roadblocks, don’t lose site of that goal.
BYS: Thank you for your time Eduardo, it was a pleasure.
E.V: Thank you for giving this opportunity. The pleasure is mine.
Hometown: Uruapan, Michoacán
Favorite Sport: Fútbol
Favorite Hobby: Eating spicy food
Favorite color: Green
Favorite food: Enchiladas Verdes/Aguachiles
Favorite musician: It’s between Deorro or Avicii
Favorite book: 1984
Favorite show: West World
Favorite thing about California: The diversity
If you can be anything other than what you are, what would it be: Astrophysicist studying the expansion of the universe.
Feel free to email us if you have any legal immigration question firstname.lastname@example.org