Carmenza Ramirez

Born in Colombia; Rehabilitation Counselor, Studies at LVGW

I never had the American Dream. I never think to come here to live. But in 2000 my husband lost his job. He is an engineer.  My older son graduated from the high school in Colombia. My brother was living here in Massachusetts.  He say, “Carmenza, maybe your husband and Victor can come here for vacation.” [They] got the tourist visa. When my husband and Victor came here, both got jobs one or two weeks later.  He call me three months later and say, “…we are going to stay here.”  In 2001 I try to get the visa to come here, but that was terrible time for the visa with [because of] September 11.  In 2006 the visa was approved.  When I was ready to leave Colombia, I brought my money, my own money. I saved money. I’m very organized person.  I came here on April 25, 2006. Almost four months later, I bought my house.  I bought my house with the money I brought from Colombia.


Carmenza Ramirez was born in Colombia and moved to the U.S. in order to reunite her family. She is well educated and was a university professor in Colombia. She is now a rehabilitation counselor for the state of Massachusetts serving Spanish-speaking clients. She talks about enduring years of separation due to visa restrictions on the heels of Sept. 11, 2001; reuniting her sons; and trying to build a professional life here in the U.S. She describes the loss of her professional identity, the reduction of her life to household tasks, the loss of connection with family, the challenge of building a new professional life, and the role of language learning and schools in accomplishing that task. Her narrative is an example of the emotional and psychological cost of immigration for professional women. She ultimately constructs a successful, independent, and professional life and a new relationship with her husband and children here in the U.S.

Interview Date: 
July 28, 2017
Interview Focus: