WSVN -- Talk about making a splash. Thirteen-year old Andrea is training to swim for the US Olympic Team. She is also a black belt in Taekwondo, but her successful life did not start here.
Andrea Perez-Hickman: "I was born in Venezuela. My mom was born in Venezuela, too."
Andrea came to this country when she was just 3 years old and fitting in wasn't always easy.
Andrea Perez-Hickman: "It was kind of hard to learn English. It was, like, the hardest part."
Ada Pozo, Pozo Goldstein & Gomez, LLP: "Unfortunately, I think the country is very divided right now. I think there is a lot of anti-immigrant sentiment."
Immigration Attorney Ada Pozo says, laws like Arizona's, which allows police to question anyone about their immigration status, create turmoil for kids, especially for those who were born in other countries but grew up here.
Ada Pozo, Pozo Goldstein & Gomez, LLP: "For all intents and purposes, they feel they're American. Their friends are American, they barely speak the language from wherever they're from, and really, technically, they're here illegally."
7's Parenting Expert Dr. Valerie Goode says, parents need to help their children better understand the issue.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "How do you explain immigration? What is an immigrant? An immigrant is just a person who comes from another country. It's not a bad word."
Dr. Val says when it comes to controversial topics like immigration, teach kids what the words mean, help them create a family tree showing pictures of relatives who came to the US from other countries, and most importantly, teach them how to be tolerant of other people and other cultures.
Dr. Valerie Goode: "I'm not saying tolerate breaking laws. I'm saying tolerate humans and them looking for a better life for their family."
Andrea is now a proud US citizen. She says she will never forget where she came from but is now focused on where she is going.
Andrea Perez-Hickman: "I want to become an Olympic swimmer. I'm working hard, harder than usual, to achieve that dream. I hope it comes true."
Lynn Martinez: "The laws could change soon. The Dream Act is now in Congress, which would allow young people to become residents and, ultimately, US citizens if they complete their college degree here or spend two years in the US military."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:Ada PozoPozo Goldstein & Gomez, LLPAttorneys at Law - Specializing in Immigration Law and Criminal Defense2121 S.W. 3rd Avenue, Fifth FloorMiami, FL 33129www.pozogoldstein.com Tel: (305) 856-0400