By Jacob Waring
Tears welled up in Carol Fragoso’s eyes and her voice cracked as she described the impending fear of her mother’s deportation.
The inauguration of President Donald Trump, and the ignition of his immigration policy, resulted in her mother’s appointments with the government about her U.S. residency being canceled in January 2018.
Before Fragoso was born, her mother Sandra Reyes felt that opportunities. She decided to travel to the United States to receive more opportunities than she was provided with.
“My mom saw that there wasn’t so much that she could give me in Mexico for education. She decided to move to Arizona,” says Fragoso. “She knew that [there] wasn’t going to be a life for me in Mexico than what would be here in the United States.”
The trek from Mexico to the desert town of Sedona, Ariz. had potential consequences for her mother.
“She did understand what the consequences would’ve been,” she says. “She told me as I got older, that once I got my degree, we would probably move back.”
Currently, she says her mother plans on returning to Mexico while she finishes her degree. Her mother wishes to visit Fragoso’s grandmother and return in time to see Carol receive her diploma. Yet, if deported, that nullifies any chance of seeing Carol walk in her cap and gown as she is handed her diploma.
“That’s my fear,” she says. “Not seeing my mom cheering for me and seeing me graduate with my psychology degree.”
According to Fragoso, her mother has worked hard since the age of 12. Even after having Carol at 18, she was cleaning hotels in Arizona. Her mother worked at food stands, washed dishes and collected money, as well. Due to constantly moving from one place to another, her mother never enrolled in high school. She often took care of her four siblings, and her youngest sibling believed she was his mother, “which broke her heart,” says Fragoso.
“She always told me from a young age that she doesn’t want me to follow [in] her footsteps, she says. “I’m here, in college because she wants me to overcome and finish the dream she couldn’t.”
Fragoso is adamant her mother witnesses her getting her degree because her success is also her mother’s success.
A case of ear infections alerted Carol’s mother to bring her in for a check-up.
The doctor prescribed antibiotics, specifically Amoxicillin.
“Turns out I was allergic to Amoxicillin. I guess that’s what contributed to the [multitude of] illnesses,” she says about her childhood.
The high dosage and administration level resulted in a laundry list of issues. Luckily, she says, due to the different medications she’s currently on, she has nearly all her medical issues under control.
Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis, a type of cancer which causes lesions to form in different places of the body, is one of the illnesses she manages. She got her LCH treated with chemotherapy but lost the use of her left eye as a result.
In addition, Fragoso manages diabetes insipidus, which is the body’s inability to regulate fluids, Celiac disease, which make
s ingesting gluten damaging to the small intestine, and a form of hemophilia called Von Willebrand where if she gets cut deep enough, she could potentially bleed out.
She says this assortment of medical issues resulted in her being bullied or feeling left out from her peers.
“I got bullied for how I looked. I fell into a drastic depression. That’s when I essentially opened my eyes and said, ‘I am different,’ ” she says. “Why did it happen to me? I kept asking myself why?”
Her first friend during high school, Caitlyn Vicenzi, was the turning point when she started to gain her confidence and pride in herself.
“This girl had come up to me and she was like ‘would it be strange to ask you to switch eyes [with me]?’ I said, ‘Honestly if I could, I would because then I could be able to see out of both eyes for a while,’ ” says Fragoso.
Vicenzi had complimented her beauty and told her not to let anyone tell her different or put her down.
Flight of an Owl
Currently, she is loving the Southern community—from students to staff—and says they have all been welcoming. She hopes to start attending Anime Club soon and sees herself walking down the stage with her diploma. Eventually, she wants to be a peer mentor, a tutor in Spanish, and a resident adviser in Farnham Hall.
“I really like this school, my dorm,” says Fragoso. “I have a lot of friends here.”