Ailyn Pérez is the daughter of Mexican immigrants Miguel and Luz Pérez, who each grew up in a different small town outside Guadalajara and met in Chicago. By dint of nonstop work, they were able to provide well for their three children — well enough that Pérez, 35, who says she “always lived in good neighborhoods and went to good schools,” wasn’t eligible for financial aid when she attended Indiana University, intending to become a music teacher.

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