Everyone has their reasons for wanting to work on Wall Street. For Julissa Arce, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico who worked her way up from intern to VP at Goldman Sachs, the reason was simple:”I thought if I had a bunch of money I would be accepted.”
Arce, who structured derivatives for Goldman’s private wealth division for seven years, described her experience as “terrifying” to Bloomberg’s Max Abelson in a Businessweek profile.
Now 31, Arce moved to Texas at age 11 and later attended university in-state. (Undocumented immigrants are able to enroll in public universities in Texas.) She then found her way to Wall Street after interning at Goldman and using a fake green card bought for a “few hundred” dollars.
The forged documents got her through all the necessary background checks and served her for years (she made Vice President in her 6th), until she married her college boyfriend and exchanged her fake green card for a real one.
Aside from that, her experience working as a woman on Wall Street sounds pretty normal:
Arce and her friends liked to sit back at Ulysses and watch Goldman guys attempting to flirt with women. If a banker came up to her and name-dropped the firm, she would ask what exactly he did there and try to stay polite when he answered that she wouldn’t really understand. If he asked about her, she would cordially explain that she structured derivatives at Goldman Sachs for its richest clients.
Arce has since left finance, and will begin work next month for Define American, a non-profit in California that advocates for undocumented immigrants.