This story was originally published on December 19, 2011.
My introduction to liberty and the principles of a free society was a gradual process. What sets me apart from most students is that I was born and partly raised in a country where the ideas of liberty are not revered. It was in Mexico, a country that suffers from excessive levels of government corruption and control, that I experienced one of the major events in my life that led me to find credibility in the value of limited government and free markets. My stepfather, an American citizen, and my mother opened a successful real estate company in Puerto Vallarta. My family had worked hard for many years and was doing well financially. I still remember the day that federal agents arrived at our house and told my dad that because he was an American citizen, the Mexican government had the authority to take 40 percent of his business profit. If he refused they would deport him to the US. This event would be the first of my experiences that showed me how immoral and corrupt the government becomes as people give up their freedoms and give it more power.
Arriving to the United States gave me a new view of the world. Americans live completely different lives compared to my country’s culture, in almost every aspect. People in America are prosperous and free to live their lives with a sense of no limits. It was a shock for me to see this because in my country, most citizens lived in poverty and asked permission to do even the most private of things, from starting a business to what streets they could walk on. America represented opportunity and freedom for my family.