Cuban-American: The true immigrant experience

Immigrating is never easy, the struggle always seems to lie in leaving your

family, or leaving your friends behind, but luckily for most, they have the option to go

back. For others, like Jessica Prinstein, who’s spent the last year unable to return to her

home in Cuba, that possibility is far away.

Jessica Prinstein, an Instagram lifestyle model, has spent the last year in

between jobs. Recently, she’s celebrated her one year anniversary in the United States.

“...I’ve recently applied for residency, and it’s been difficult. I’ve had to leave my

family and friends behind, and, well it’s been difficult” Prinstein remarks when asked

about how she’s spent her last year in the U.S.

She notes how little America has helped her in the process of immigration. She

recognizes how it’s been a learning experience, having to learn new laws, a language,

and how to do things that seem basic to natural born citizens, but extravagant to her.

“I’ve had to build my life from nothing” she states, contrasting how here in the U.S. even

the less fortunate start off with some progress already made for them in life. She

describes it as if she were left helpless and alone in a foreign land, although it is not far

from the truth.

“I wish I would have spent more time enjoying life in Cuba before I left.” Prinstein

then talks about how she misses her past life in Cuba, and how it starkly contrasts to life

in the U.S. She talks about how in Cuba, life was simpler, familial values more

appreciated, and communities always had a comfortable feel and ambience. Even when

asked if there was anything other than family or friends she missed from Cuba, she

repeated, “I miss my family. What else is there to miss?”

She constantly remarks how whenever she misses home, she tries to call. To

her, life in Miami is similar to Cuba, the same base culture is there, in its familiar foods,

language, environment, but it’s still different. When she misses home, she can eat the

same food her family would make for her, she can breathe the same air, yet in the end,

life still seems different without her family there to support her.

“I came to the U.S. to finally be independent. To be stable. To find change” she

describes. She also demonstrates how she has successfully achieved, and is achieving

those goals. “I am independent, I am maintaining myself. And to others here I may not

look like it [but compared to life in Cuba] … I am stable.”

Life for an immigrant in the U.S. is becoming more unstable each year, and

immigrants like Jessica Prinstein are testament to that. Although throughout the

interview, Prinstein remained optimistic. Even as deportation rates in the United States

reach an all time high, and racial discrimination peaks in our country, people like

Prinstein still fight to be here, missing their families, and their old life, in exchange for

freedom. Isn’t it time we show immigrants that we are a country built by immigrants, and

treat them for who they are, normal human beings.

Towards the end of our interview, Prinstein reached out and hesitated. She

personally told me to be able to give a few words of wisdom to the public. She sat

straight, and told me:

“Dirle a todos los jóvenes inmigrantes que no tengan miedo de salir de su burbuja. Que vuelen. Que no se corten las alas. Yo era niña de mama y papa, y llegue para tener una vida con mil cambios. Pero estoy feliz.”

ENGLISH TRANSLATION: “Tell all young immigrants, even younger than me, to not be

afraid to pop their bubble. Tell them to fly, and not stay grounded for anyone. I was a

family girl, and I came here to confront a life full of changes. But I am happy.”


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