Siblings thank mom for move out of Mexico

As a young boy growing up in Mexico City, Omar de la Rosa had never seen snow and never imagined that he would be spending the year after graduating from college as a ski bum in Northern California.

He fell in love with skiing so much that, if it were up to him, he would probably still be working on Mammoth Mountain instead of as an aide in the Republican office of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, the 25-year-old says in an interview in the Hart Senate Office Building cafeteria.

But at the prodding of his sister, Mitzyn de la Rosa, who works as a legislative assistant with Rep. Ralph Hall (R-Texas), and his mother, who got both children green cards to start a new life in the U.S. when they were just 5 and 6 years old, he found his way to Capitol Hill.

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Omar and Mitzyn are two of a small number of congressional staffers who were born in foreign countries. From not knowing any English to graduating with two college degrees and working on congressional campaigns, the pair attribute a large part of their success to the family values and discipline instilled in them since birth.

“We’re very family-oriented,” Mitzyn said while sitting in the Rayburn House Office Building cafeteria. “We have a close bond and were taught respect and high morals more than anything. And when I was growing up, you didn’t see that a lot with other families.

“Even though I’m 26, I still can’t yell at my mom,” said Mitzyn, who, though she speaks English with a Texas drawl, still thinks in Spanish.

The siblings’ mother came to the U.S. and worked three jobs at once before going back to Mexico City to retrieve her children. She then headed north again, eventually settling in the small Texas city of Gainesville. There she not only went to college — graduating with two degrees and honors — but also remarried, had two more children and made certain all four of her kids excelled.

“Our mother definitely set a benchmark,” Omar said. “You’re always trying to surpass her expectations. It’s like, if she can do all of that, then what shouldn’t I be able to do?”

Their mother instilled a firm discipline in their lives. They were not allowed to speak Spanish in the house, and were required to either come home directly after school to do homework, or to head straight to music lessons or sports practice.

“Our parents weren’t like other parents, they didn’t spoil us, and we didn’t have it easy,” Mitzyn said. “We had to work for what we wanted, and it taught us to really appreciate what we do have.”

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As a result, Mitzyn graduated from high school having already earned enough college credits to start college the following fall as a junior.

Mizyn and Omar are both planning to run for political office. Omar says he thinks “the GOP needs diversity” and he could be a viable alternative for younger voters.

Who knows? he said.

Maybe his is the new face Republicans are looking for.