- Help pass the DREAM Act
- Be more proactive
- New York
- Get in Shape (for reals)
- Help Pass the DREAM Act
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
(gotta have a bright side in these down times right?)
Saturday, December 27, 2008
il·le·gal (¹-l¶“g…l) adj. 1. Prohibited by law. 2. Prohibited by official rules. 3. Computer Science. Unacceptable to or not performable by a computer. --il·le·gal n. An illegal immigrant. --il·le“gal·ly adv. (American Heritage Dictionary- AHD)
Illegal Immigrant, Illegal Alien, or just plain Illegal.
The illegality of a person is something that I fail to comprehend. Inanimate things are illegal, specific actions are illegal, human beings are not. Yet in this country I am. It's a hard notion to wrap my head around. The fact that I'm "illegal". It is something that is constantly in my mind, whether it's at the forefront or hiding deep in the back of my thoughts.
So what specifically makes me "illegal"? Well, many label me as an illegal immigrant, which means (according to the AHD) that I am prohibited by law from being in the United States. But wait, that doesn't make ME illegal. I'm almost positive that my friends can't be prosecuted simply because they hang out with me (although with HR4437 they might have).
However, when I hear people talk about undocumented immigrants it's always "oh the illegals" or "did you hear she is illegal". Even when I explained my situation to my closest friends I got the classic "oh so you're illegal?" response.
I would like to take this time to clarify something.
I (insert my name here) am NOT prohibited by law.
So why does this inaccurate label refuse to detach itself from me? Well because it makes things easier.
By labeling me as "illegal" I am suddenly robbed of the ability to be identified as a part of society. I am robbed of my humanity. Which in turn makes it easier for others to deny me of rights, to deny me of an identity, in essence to deny me of my being.
Why do some insist on using "illegal" as a means to classify me. Well it is substantially easier to deny an "illegal" the right to health care, or a fair trial, than to deny these rights to a "John" or a "Carlos" or a "Hans". And better yet by being "illegal" and can be morphed into a statistic, which can be manipulated and used for any means that one desires (for example, it's a known fact that 99.9% of illegals don't like percentages).
I just wish that this "illegal" label, and those who insist on using it, would realize that I already have a perfect label to define me. And if they want to refer to me (and others like me) then they can refer to me as a:
hu·man (hy›“m…n) adj. 1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of human beings. 2. Having or showing those positive aspects of nature and character that distinguish human beings from the lower animals. 3. Subject to or indicative of the weaknesses, imperfections, and fragility associated with human beings. 4. Having the form of a human being. 5. Made up of human beings. --hu·man n. A human being; a person.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
When I was I kid I used to practice holding my breath as a game. I would try to see how long I could last and then try to go even longer. One time I lasted a minute and a half, it felt as though a hammer was beating my lungs. I never imagined that I would be holding my breath for twenty years.
I was always aware of my status, even as a young boy my parents had told me about it. They explained their reasoning for coming here and what our goals and aspirations as a family where. So I grew up always knowing, however it was only until junior year in high school that I really understood the gravity of our situation. And with that understanding came a downward spiral during which I practically gave up all efforts in school; my reasoning was, why bother with all this work if it’s not going to amount to anything.
I managed to better my grades and keep my hopes somewhat up during my last year in school, and even flirted with the idea of applying to some universities, but with out status and with no money it was a difficult journey ahead. So rather than begin my college studies with the rest of my peers I proceeded to join the underground economy and with my share of odd jobs, save some money.
During that time I joined my father in community gatherings and forums to promote a bill allowing undocumented students to pay instate tuition. At these gatherings I spoke to families about the potential of our youth and the benefits of this bill, I talked about the difficult choices that an undocumented teen had to make when there was no means to gain access to higher education.
It wasn’t until a year after graduation that hope finally came in the form of AB 540, allowing me to enroll in a local community college.
While working fulltime and going to classes at night I managed to transfer to a state university in 2005. One of my dreams having come true, I continued to work fulltime and go to school at night, focusing on school rather than any form of social life. On weekends it was either overtime, or being in the library. What drove me was the somewhat naïve idea that once I graduated everything would somehow magically work itself out.
So the time passed, and in the winter of 2007 I graduated Cum Laude, with a degree in Industrial Engineering. Graduation was a bittersweet day. Having finished school and still being undocumented I had no prospects other than to stay in the underground economy and let my degree lose value as the time passes.
Sure I had met my goal and facing difficult barriers obtained a degree. But now what?
Being in my mid twenties I see all the time that has passed me by, and how a lot of it has been wasted by this constant worry that not having nine digits entails. I look at all the opportunities missed, the demeaning jobs, anger and despair and realize that I don’t want undocumented kids just graduating from high school to go through that. I also look towards my future, or lack of, and feel the tugging of time as each year passes. To be a 30-year-old fast food worker is not something that I aspire.I want to be able to finally breathe.
These are my reasons for fighting for the DREAM Act.