Thursday, December 31, 2009


OOF. that is how I can best describe this past year. OOF.

It has been a year full of hopes, excitements, and disappointments. It has been a year of discoveries and full of new faces. I has been a fast year yet it took its time in ending.

2009 made my anxieties worsen. It made me stress out. It marked the two year anniversary of my college graduation. it was the year i had to run away from a decent job, due to immigration status.

But 2009 brought me many blessings too.

2009 brought (to me) the inspiration to participate in the growing student led Dream Act movement. It gave me the opportunity to meet so many undocumented students who are fighting for their right to be regarded equal members of society.

2009 brought many friends, many of whom i've written about here.

2009 was the year of firsts in which i first flew to another state. first time i booked a hotel. first time i organized an event. first time i did a radio interview. first time i did a TV interview. My first Bike party. My first two bedroom apartment with an actual door. first taco de lengua (tongue taco). First Stanford (or any college ) tailgate. My first Activist retreat.

As 2009 comes to an end I am once again filled with anticipation. With the fierce adrenaline of hope that 2010 will be the year we have all been longing for.

Happy New Years!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Houston Texas - Flight number 416- Part 5

Once inside the departure area, i walked up to a kiosk so i could check in, entered my ticket number and got the following..." Im sorry, your flight time is too close for you to be able to check in". shit. "run Gabriel", and i ran out and called her back. "i cant check in. i missed my flight. its ok. what do i do?"...she was calm "go to the airline and check the next flight, ill turn around in case you need me to pick you up".

The only humans wearing Continental Uniforms where at the baggage check in area, so i went up to one and explained the situation. I dont know how it happened, but the dood checking in baggage managed to print my boarding pass, "hurry" he said. I ran to the TSA line, ironic i think. Shit. the line was packed and moving slow. shit. how much time did i have? checked the phone. no signal.

Being an engineer and a math geek, i quickly calculated the rate of change (the derivative of the line movement in respect to time) and found that i was figuratively screwed. I did not have enough time to make it. I asked the lady behind me for the time, "8:43" she said..."why" . I explained my dilemma and she suggested that i talk to the TSA officer who was walking around...umm But before I knew it, the lady flagged the agent down, and i found myself explaining the situation to the TSA agent, whose only suggestion was to politely cut in line. Great.

I managed to move five people ahead, but when i reached the sixth and gave her my whole speech about being late, she said " WERE LATE TOO!" and that was that..."i missed my flight, i need to buy another ticket, crap another night at the hotel.."

As i turned to leave the line, i saw the TSA pointing in my direction, she was with a man wearing a suit. they both approached me and the man (who was some sort of manager i suppose) asked me for my ID and Boarding Pass. Inside i was shaking uncontrollably, outside i had to remain calm. "you're running late huh?" yes sir i told him. "come with me" and just like that he escorted me to the TSA line where the pilots go through. "Youve got about ten minutes hurry".

This time the lady TSA agent that checked my passport smiled, she had a UV light to scan my ID, and she asked me about my visit. I told her how it amazed me that it had snowed here and how awesome it had been. she smiled, "ok hon, have a safe flight".

I didn't even tie my shoes or put my belt back on after going thru the Xray and metal detector machines. I ran. I ran like the McCallisters from home alone. I ran for what seemed like 4 blocks to gate 29. I ran through the crowds and swerved to not hit people with my carry on bag, which now weighed a ton.

When i got to my gate i could not breathe...I handed my pass to the stewardess and she said "ok darling you made it". I was the last one on the plane. I called her to let her know i was alright. She cried.

It was there, on the plane, where it all hit me. The magnitude of what had happened and was still happening. I won't lie. My emotions got the best of me. I tilted my head back, took a deep breath and felt my racing heart.

During the flight back my mind was cluttered with thoughts, memories, ideas, songs and what not.

I fell in love with a beautiful fantasy. And i got to live this fantasy for four days. But fantasies end as reality welcomes us with open arms.

I grew a lot on this trip. I learned a lot as well. I learned that sometimes, you have to let fantasies be just that, fantasies. And I learned you have to let them go.

Houston Texas - Flight number 416- Part 4

Everyone tells you that you should arrive at the airport at least 2 hours before your flight, so that you have plenty of time to check in and go through security and all that. So I knew we were cutting it close when she picked me up at around eight am (my flight being at nine). I loaded my things in the car, kissed her and then we got on our way.

Snow still covered the grass and buildings, and the roads were icy and slippery, so she drove slow and carefully. As we got closer to the airport, the knot in my stomach grew tighter. Our hands were clasped together.

One of the things i've come to realize is that Airports are confusing places, starting with the parking areas. There are so many signs, and one must stay on a particular lane or else you end up in another area, completely opposite of where you intended to be. We missed our lane, and with out knowing, somehow ended up in the wrong parking lot, and it took us about then minutes to realize this, since the elevator was so far from the car. Finally when we got off the elevator we saw that we were not in the departures areas, but rather the airline ticket place...crap.

She began to get worried, i could tell by the hurried pace in her step, so i tried to not show my concern that i had about 30 minutes to check in, get through TSA and board the plane. I've always thrived under pressure haha.

Once again in the car, we had to exit the airport and re-enter it. this time scanning every sign twice and making sure we were in the correct lane. then we saw the sign "Continental Departures"...she pulled up to the unloading area and we both got out. The knot was about to burst.

Einstein was right, time really is relative. As we drove around, the minutes were flashing by, and yet as we hugged in front of the departures entrance, every second was frozen in time. Tears rolled from her eyes. I wiped them away and kissed her once and again. "be strong. its ok, smile that pretty smile si?". I could not cry. "go" she said. "go. you are going to miss your flight".

Sometimes, the hardest things in life just happen. Letting her go was one of those. Looking back, and seeing her smile, while tears rolled down her checks. it just pierced me.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Houston Texas - Flight number 416- Part 3

It was approximately 12:45 pm on December 1, 2009 when i landed in Texas. I was not able to see the city from the air due to the cloudy day. I waited till the people in front of me started to move forward, then i got my carry on and slowly walked out of the plane. My heart was racing, pounding, like it wanted to break free, out of my chest and explode. Slowly i entered the airport, took a deep breath and looked around...

Welcome to Texas Gabriel. The thoughts in my head are a bit cloudy. But i remember thinking, "holy shit, im not in California". First thing i did was step into the bathroom to wash my face and try to wake up. then i got my things together and walked through the airport towards the baggage claim area. If you were a person in that airport on that day, you could tell i was a newbie. Slowly i walked, taking in everything, from the small carts taking people to their gates, to the hurried pace of every one, and the bored looks on the shop cashiers.

I remembered i had been told i would go down some escalators, then would be immediately at the baggage claim area. So when i saw them i felt my heart rate go even faster, "is this normal?" i thought. There I was, on baggage thingy number 6 waiting. A few minutes passed and i started to get anxious, had i misunderstood? was in the wrong area? oh man why does one's mind race at the speed of light when fear enters. heart pounding.

Then I saw her. She had a green blouse under a white sweater, jeans and a concerned look on her face. I noticed that the incessant pounding of my heart had stopped. As i walked towards her she began to walk away, distracted, no doubt looking for me. I followed behind her for a bit, a sly smile on my face. Then she stopped turned and saw me. I smiled. She smiled. We embraced. She smiled. The most beautiful smile i've ever seen. "hello" I said. and we walked towards the parking structure.

There we embraced once again. I kissed her and hugged her tightly, as i felt her begin to cry. " its ok sweetie I'm here safe" i think i mumbled. She smiled and we got into the car.

The next four and a half days are a glorious blur. I met her family and friends. We went to the galleria, Ice Skated there and then had coffee at Agora. We went to NASA, where i nerded out and got sick in the process. We met Carlos and his son Caleb, the lil' Gansta. We had coffee with her parents and saw the Blindside (not so good jaja), we had Texan BBQ, What-a-Burger, Tapioca with Lidia and Juan. I spent hours chatting with her mom, getting to know her and learning about her and her family's struggle in this country.We went to college station, and visited Texas A&M (where she went to school), drove through the medical center in Houston, saw the Christmas decorations of down town and to top it off it snowed in Houston on Friday. I made my first snowman and had my first flight canceled due to weather conditions.

In short, those four days were amazing. I was essentially able to step out of my self, out of my reality and transport myself into something where I felt, well...normal. Like a normal 27 year old man, who was traveling and blessed with the company of some one very dear to him.

But like all fantasies, it had to come to an end. My flight was on Saturday (December 5th 2009) at nine in the morning. As i sat in my hotel room at 3 am, i thought " I will always remember this trip, this moment, these days, as the precise moment in time where my life in the United States changed. The moment where I began to start living."

With so many thoughts, sleep was hard to come by that night.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Houston Texas - Flight number 416- Part 2

I approached the TSA agent with a smile on my face, set down my carry on bag and handed her my boarding pass along with my passport (which was opened to the first page). In the process i noticed my shaking hands so i cupped them together by my mouth, blew air into them and muttered "wow its really chilly this early huh". The TSA agent smiled back and nodded, then she looked at the two documents infront of her...and looked. Mere seconds must have passed but it seemed like a week took place. I tried not to be nervous while she checked off my pass with her marker. And just like that it was over. I had passed my first TSA security point, and i was on my way to Houston, Texas. I was really doing this.

What followed next may be mundane to the average traveler, but to me every step of the process was a new discovery. as if i had been abducted and was no walking through the alien spaceship. The Xray machine, the metal detector, the boarding area shops, the little TVs with your flight info.

Yeah, i know. But to me it's all about the little things.

I got to my gate and was the only one there. my body still tense and shaking as i looked out the window. My mind was racing. You may ask why this was such a big deal, going to another state, getting on a plane, ect. To me it was more than that. It was symbol of freedom, but also it was a sign of growing up. "Rite of Passage" said Mark, "like renting your first car". I booked the flight, i booked the hotel, i planned the trip. It was probably the most normal adult thing i have ever done in my life.

Alone with my thoughts, i waited as the minutes passed and more people arrived at the waiting area. Then they started letting people board the plane. A rush of adrenaline ran through my body, i got chills, the butterflies, stomach knots. you name it.

My seat area (or what ever) was called. I walked up almost like a kid about to pee, and began to board the plane. As soon as i entered i was greeted by a stewardess, who directed me a bit down to my seat. I told her i had no idea what i was doing since it was my 1st flight in ten years jaja.

She showed me to my seat, and helped me with my carry on. I was lucky enough that somehow i got a window seat, and after struggling with the seat belt, i sat down and looked out towards the dark airport landing strip.

The feeling inside is indescribable. It was a feeling of relief, of freedom. I wanted to run through the airport and run through that plane and yell at the top of my lungs. I am flying. I am going to get to travel. I am taking control.

It felt like i could finally breathe, even if for a while, after 20 years.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Houston Texas - Flight number 416- Part 1

As I stepped away from this blog, I decided I was going to face some fears of mine. There are many things that I fear as an undocumented American, one such thing being the simple act of boarding an airplane.

In early November an opportunity came up where I was invited to Houston, Texas, to meet some one very special to me, along with some Dreamer friends I've met online. I decided I would go. That same week I booked my flight for December 1st to the 4th.

1999 was the last time I had flown. It was a pre Real ID 45 minute flight to Los Angeles. I was a senior in High School and I was able to use my school ID.

This time I would fly using my Mexican Passport, which obviously contains no visa. I would have to show my passport to TSA agents at the airport an hope that they don't decide to look past the first page. I was a bit encouraged by having heard stories from other students about how they fly with their passport (including my own younger sister Gina) with out any problems. Yet the fear lingered there, as i remembered the late night call from Ju, when he was stopped and questioned by TSA at Oakland Airport. Worse, I remembered the story that Aldo told me of how he was questioned by Houston TSA when he was flying back to California.

I had a whole month to dwell on these thoughts of encouragement and fear, both alternating like an emotional sine wave (shout out to math lovers!). "But I'm 27", i thought, " i NEED to do this". That was my logic, i need to take control of my life, let go of fears and begin to live. otherwise I will spend the rest of my life in regret. Always looking back.

"i NEED to do this" it was this thought that remained in my mind as i walked up the the empty TSA check point at SFO at 4:30 am on December 1st 2009. My hands shaking, my body tense, my mind focused.

i need to do this...

Immigration and Undocumented Immigrants 101

This resulted from a facebook message (of all places) sent to me by an friend and old coworker. Even as I become more open with my status to others, there is still so much misinformation out there, that people who know me don't really understand what exactly it is to be undocumented. I Omitted the name of the person, for privacy reasons.

Also, please do not judge -----, as this person is a legal immigrant from Hong kong, for which English is a second language and who may not be so familiar with what is going on immigration wise in the USA.

" From: -----

i want to say something about immigrants and illegal...

According to my understanding from the post of USA Today, those people are really come to the USA illegally. However, they can't be blamed and deported like this because USA didn't stop these immigrants coming over illegally. USA should work hard on stopping illegal immigrants at the border instead of deporting them when they found out.

I don't know about the high school stuff, but those illegal immigrants can register to and graduate from High's the USA's problem that they didn't require SSN. Do people need to pay for attending High school? If yes, these illegal immigrants are able to pay is lucky and good for the kids to be educated. Education is always the most important whereas nowaday's kids/teenagers are so rude and not respecting others. Especially there're so many single-parent families and parents are not allow to hit their kids when they're not behaving.

Sometimes it's hard to trust illegal immigrants will study/work hard. I personally sometimes don't like those just come to the States and get benefits without working. And some of them just keep giving births to babies and get benefits. Some of them even use the food stamps to buy valuable foods to eat...I heard of it like shark fins and all other expensive foods.
For those really want to stay here for study and work hard, I'll suggest creating a record and keep track of their status. If they do study well and work hard, they can stay since those are working have to pay the TAX. :D Childrens go to school have to pay for tuition fee...this should be one of the incomes for the State/Country?"

And here is my response:

" Hi ------ :)

Thanks for the opinions. Although i think we have some slight disagreements when it comes to this topic. I'm not sure if you are aware, but i am undocumented (or as you refer, illegal), I was brought to the US when i was 7, so i see a lot of the myths that are thrown around to describe people like me. I want to let you know that i did not cross the border, but rather came on a visa (which expired) as do the majority of undocumented immigrants. While i do agree with you that the US has to do something, i disagree on actuality of what should be done. I mean, the US Immigration System is broken and does not reflect the actual needs of this country, as such it should be reformed so that not only will it allow easier and more regulated movement of people, but also bring 12 million human beings out of societies shadows.

It is allowed for undocumented children to attend US public school (Supreme Court Case Plyler v Doe 1982), and you're correct education is very important. But unfortunately after high school many of these youths do not have the option (in some states) or money (in most states) to attend college ( about 65,000 graduate High School every year). Instead they have no choice but to go to work as gardeners, painters, waiters, ect. These kids want to continue their education, they want to study so that they can contribute to this country, which they consider their home like i do.

Another misconception that i wanted to touch base on was that of undocumented immigrants, babies and benefits. Yes undocumented immigrants have babies, but you are misinformed, because undocumented immigrants do not qualify for any federal assistance (like i didn't get financial aid for example). I do agree that immigrants (legal or not) that do not contribute to this country and are just a drain on resources should not be rewarded with food stamps, but in the grand outlook, it is only a small percentage that do so. the majority of immigrants (legal or not) are hard working people who want a better future for their families and who call this country home.

As an undocumented immigrant my self (one that has been here 20+ years) I do not consider myself a drain on society, i pay federal income taxes, state taxes and sales taxes. I paid for my entire college education (which is why it took me so long LOL :P) and have thankfully never had any problems with the law.

I do consider my self and the many other undocumented students (many who were brought as very young children), a lost opportunity for this country. We are being wasted on jobs that pay us minimum wage, and that dont utilize our skills and education to the fullest. Not only that, but if we were able to work in our fields of study we would make more money which really means we would pay more taxes (like 8 dollars vs 15, you pay more taxes). Which is why i am an advocate for the DREAM Act ( which would provide me with a way to gain legal status (there is no other way to do so unless i get married).

Anyhow, I hope i haven't overloaded you with my points on this issue :P, it is a subject that is very personal to me. I also hope that if you did just find out about my status, it does not change the dynamics of our friendship.

Merry Xmas!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

What Is an "illegal Student" USA today?

this is a repost from my friends over at :

Would a truly reputable national newspaper use the N-word to describe African-Americans and say it is just "company policy?"

I doubt it. But that the USA Today has done something similar.

On December 15, USA Today ran an article titled “Groups try to delay deportations of illegal students," (( in which they called young immigrant students in the United States “illegal students.”

USA Today reporter, Emily Bazar (, says she is just following company policy when she labels young immigrants without papers as “illegal students." See the email where she justifies her actions:

Appalling, isn't it? But she blatantly avoids the issue at hand. I get the “illegal immigrant” euphemism because that slur is familiar. But just what exactly is an "illegal student?"

No human being can be illegal. Click on the link below to tell USA Today to stop competing with the archaic immigration system and drop the use of the word ‘illegal’

After Emily Bazar implicated that the use of "illegal immigrant" came from a webcast with representatives from NumbersUSA and National Council of La Raza, Lisa Navarette from NCLR came on record within a few hours to say that "'Illegal student" is not only wrong on substance and grammar grounds, it is just plain laziness on the part of people who purport to adhere to journalistic standards [...] We would never purport to tell anyone what to call themselves or define their identity for them."

I am asking you to stand up with me. Don't be afraid and do not let anyone label you, your family, friends, students and an entire community of disenfranchised people as "illegal."

Sign the petition directed at USA Today and spread the word

If you need more details, our blog post on this issue is here:

If you can write about this on your own blog, copy-paste this to your contacts or make calls to the following people, that would be great as well:

Heidi Zimmerman
7950 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, VA 22108
(703) 854-5304

Alex Nicholson
7950 Jones Branch Drive, McLean, VA 22108

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Back Again

I've been gone for about two months. Reflecting, working and growing. But now as Immigration Reform is introduced into the legislative agenda and on the verge of the one year anniversary of this blog, i think it fitting to come back to the bloggosphere and return to my ramblings.

Now more than ever we need to ramp up our efforts to be heard. to say "hey! here we are! we exist, we live and breathe! and we need to be recognized".

So I come back refreshed and ready, to once again add my two cents on what it is like to live as an Undocumented American in the United States.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Im stepping away for a while. I hope to have had some relevance in the posts i made. But enough has been said for now.

I'll be back.

Thanks for the support to all.

- Gabriel an Undocumented American Youth.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


The reason behind the Hermitage:

Jan. 2007 - Dinner at Pasta Pomodoro. time unknown.

"....i am undocumented"

she looks uncomfortable. Fiddles with her food. mutters "oh" with out looking at me.

1.5 years fizzle before me and she disappears in front of my eyes.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Current Events

Just a summary of the weeks happenings:

Some say that tuesday the 13th is bad luck. Maybe. I used to be much more superstitious than i am now. It rained on tuesday all day. I woke up with a fever. thought "damn i should have gotten the flu shot". My single wisdom tooth was rocking the entire left side of my face. had to call in sick for work. Went back to sleep. Later that morning, i got up and with some dayquil and coffee worked on some much needed homework assignments. reading chapters on TCP/IP while organizing a phone conference call. call went ok, regardless. impulsive night.

Wesneday was not so good. Not enough sleep. Not enough restraint. Not enough peace.

Thursday was the anxiety attack. But with a bike ride, some stress was released. Went to the SCU Napolitano demonstratoin, were i ran into my buddy Ju. Met up with an activist friend and her group and marched. The adrenaline ran high. Left the action early to go to a midterm, which turned out to be canceled. met up with another activist and had coffee with her. Got home late and read Thoreau's "Life Without Principle" for the hundredth time. sleep

Friday after work i went to walmart, and found an LED rear bike light and a small biking backpack for my water bottles. Found my way to a Pollo Loco (where i once applied for a job) and once done got to the apartment. changed and got on the bike. It was a bike party friday. went alone but ran into someone i knew and rode with him and his buddies. 30 miles, 4 hours, 4000 riders. epic. walked around downtown. 3 am lights out

Saturday. not much going on. its been hot. Dreamactivist conference call, call with Ana about petition, movie with the sister, and a long walk. Now its time for bed

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Surreal World

I could not take it anymore. The pressure had built up through out the weeks, months, years. I sat at work, staring at the broken laptops in front of me. Hardware and screws and the automatic screwdriver spread out on the bench.

The flood gates were opened this year. All that raw emotion that had been suppressed is now pushing back, clamoring to be heard, to be let out into the light of day. To be acknowledged.

I kept thinking about how surreal it all is. It’d been tossing and turning in my head. I don’t feel any different, I don’t look very much different, and yet. After how many years does one cease to become a foreigner?

Then it starts, the parade of stories I’ve come to hear. Ed studying to work in the medical field is a line cook. Cintia with her two science degrees works at a pizza joint. Fernando, with a degree in music is a bus boy. Mina a with psychology degree that cant work other than fast food. Ju’s sister, who dropped out and works two restaurant jobs so that her brother can go to college. Gladys a high school senior who is top of her class and fears she won’t be able to go further. Mark. Maria. Kemi. Gina, Phiash. Herta, Aldo, Mohammed, Miguel, Fermin, Carlo, Gilbert, Beleza, Emmanuel, Seung, Claudia, Jose, Ana, Alejandra, Prena, Erik, Daniel. Gabriel, an engineer, who fixes laptops, wraps pallets and makes boxes. And it does not end.

It was too much. My trance was broken by the sounds of my supervisor speaking Mandarin to another employee. Chest heaving, hands with screws and tools, the sound of the trucks at the loading dock, fluorescent lights, beeps, smell of wet cardboard making its way into my nostrils, the ringing phones. It’s too much. It’s not real is it?

11:22am. I got up. Headed for the exit and walked out. The gray day greeted me.

I don’t know what I am going to do. I will probably be back to work tomorrow. Maybe I won’t. Don’t know if I’ll have the job. I really don’t care. I just wanted some air. Some time to re-think this fucked up reality.

Faithfully Remain

"how long can you pray? and still not see a change? I...I....faithfully remain"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Get in line. then wait 30 more years

My parents filed a family petition, in which my Aunt, the sister of my father, and a US citizen was sponsoring my father. My mother is being petitioned by her brother. Both included me and Gina in the petition as derivatives. this was in 2001. I was 19. Gina 13. We recently were told that the application would probably be done in 3-4 years. maybe sooner.

Which means it took, 12 years to process. which means Gina and I turned 21. in 2002 the Child Status Protection Act was passed. Here's some info on it:

The Child Status Protection Act (CSPA) was signed into law on August 6, 2002. CSPA was enacted to address the problem of minor children losing their eligibility for immigration benefits because they had aged-out or turned 21 years old as a result of processing delays on the part of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services or the Department of State. US embassy

There had been on ongoing Class action lawsuit, stating that the government was not following the CSPA laws by maintaining my application age of 19.

Today, I got this news:

A federal judge has ruled that adult children who turn 21 while waiting for family-sponsored green cards have to wait anew once they "age out" of their parents' applications.

U.S. District Judge James Selna ruled in Los Angeles against a group of immigrants with green cards who sued the federal government, arguing a 2002 law means grown children should be allowed into the country when their parents file new paperwork on their behalf.

Friday's final ruling means the plaintiffs' children who became adults while waiting for processing must start the application process from the beginning. - Washington Post

So. My parents got in the famous line. My sister and I got in line with them. The government took 12 years to process our applications. We passed the golden age of 21. And now we find out that, nope. Get in the BACK of the line again, and wait. wait for another 13, heck 18, no 20 years.

Thanks for the ruling.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Signs of (Slow) Progress.

The Obama Administration's approach to immigration reform have been lacking, to say the least. Yet in these few weeks there have been a few glimmers of progress. For example DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that there would be changes in the way that non criminal immigrant detainees would be held. New idea: using renovated hotels and nursing homes (anyone else find the irony amusing? immigrants detained in hotels where they used to work).

According to Ms. Napolitano,

“Serious felons deserve to be in the prison model,” Ms. Napolitano said, “but there are others. There are women. There are children.”

These and other nonviolent people should be sorted and detained or supervised in ways appropriate to their level of danger or flight risk, she said. Her goal, she said, is “to make immigration detention more cohesive, accountable and relevant to the entire spectrum of detainees we are dealing with.” NY times

Then there was the somewhat good news that Mr. Arpiao himself would be stripped of his 287g powers, and could no longer conduct his brown immigrant witch hunt. I say this is some what good because in all honesty the man should be behind bars, wearing the very same demeaning uniforms that he forced many to wear. He should not only have had his "wings clipped" as the NY Times puts it, but rather he should have been removed from his post. Why? well judging by the following excerpt, the fact that the Federal Government told him he no longer has this power means absolutly nothing to a Patriot like Arpiao:

Either way, he and his supporters vowed to press on.

Andrew Thomas, the county attorney, appeared with Mr. Arpaio to voice his support and condemn the “setback in the fight against illegal immigration.” Mr. Thomas said, “The fight goes on.”

He and Mr. Arpaio suggested that deputies could use the state anti-human smuggling law to make stops and refer suspected illegal immigrants to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, though it was not clear whether the agency would take them.

If not, the sheriff said, “I’ll take a little trip to the border and turn them over to the border.” NY times

Last but not least was the announcement that The National Association of Evangelicals came out in support for Comprehensive Immigration Reform:

The National Association of Evangelicals' resolution, passed unanimously by the group's board of directors, recommends that immigration laws provide a path for the undocumented to eventually gain legal status, place a high priority on reuniting families and reduce backlogs of petitions in those areas. AP

It was but two years ago that I heard an evangelical Priest ask God to "protect us from these foreing invaders". Yes because God hates Immigrants. This from the National Catholic Reporter:

The Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, commended the NAE for passing the resolution . "At the end of the day, immigration reform is an issue of justice firmly grounded on biblical truth," he said. -NCR

Some one should send the memo the the other Evangelical Priest and let him know religion now needs these "foreign invaders" too.

Oh! And soon (tuesday the 13th) Representative Luis Gutierrez and Congressional Hispanic Leaders, will present the outlines for a Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill that will be introduced.

Rep. Gutierrez. "Saying immigration is a priority for this Administration or this Congress is not the same as seeing tangible action, and the longer we wait, the more every single piece of legislation we debate will be obstructed by our failure to pass comprehensive reform." -

These are only small steps. However they are welcomed ones.

Bread and Butter

I took a week off the internet to clear my mind off immigration stuff. The constant flow of information and the ease of access is scary. (side note: I read an article about a man who was homeless due to an internet addiction wow). A lot of things have been occurring just in the past week. Health care reform has been a bottle neck in our legislative agenda here in the USA, but that is slowly grinding down and activists for all sorts of movements are aching to get their cause taken up next. Immigration is no exception.

Now that my webcation is over, its been busy.

Met up with the Vice president of the Foothill College Latino club to talk about promoting the DREAM Act and organizing workshops. Participated in 2 conference calls this past week, and going to moderate another one on Tuesday. Thursday we are organizing a Mock Graduation at Santa Clara University, where the head of the DHS, Janet Napolitano, will be holding a forum. Trying to get some work done for as well as thinking about next weeks post and how to be a bit more formal when i post on dreamactivist. Looking forward to the movement getting organized soon.

A lot is going on. But much more is on the line.

Oh Canon I love you

Finally got my Canon Powershot back from the Canon repair facility. I dont have a camera phone, so this is how i document what i see. Ive been aching to practice (since i cant afford film right now) with different settings and changing F-stops. Plus Bike party is this coming Friday and now i want to take pictures of my own.

Oh Canon repair man. I could kiss you.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Finally. some (not all of it) but some signs of sanity

The New York times headline reads "Immigration Hard-Liner Has His Wings Clipped", I don't know that "immigration hard-liner" properly describes Arpaio, personally i think racist bigot is more suitable. However I'll look past that because as the NY times reports " federal officials had taken away his deputies’ authority to make immigration arrests in the field."

Mr. Arpaio's reaction was as expected:

That prompted an angry, rambling outburst from the sheriff Tuesday at a news conference at which he called Homeland Security officials “liars” and vowed to press on with his campaign, using state laws, against illegal immigrants. He said he would drive those caught on the streets to the border if federal officers refused to take them into custody.

Kind of like a kid throwing a tantrum. "If you wont give me what i want ill do it my way...wah wah."

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Dinner with old friends


Mr. Li tomorrow is my last day. his face grew serious. "what?" yeah. I got another job and they need me to start tomorrow. sorry.

And with that i left the warehouse where i had worked since 2003. from ages 21-25. The man had become a pseudo surrogate father figure (if that makes sense). But i was fed up. day in day out the same routine. it was mundane. and my work went unrecognized.

August 2007 was nothing but fear, guilt and anxiety. I quit my job. Idiot. now where to work? Goddamn impulsiveness. I graduate in four months. i need money.

I spent the month looking for work. frugality at its best. i applied at restaurants, bars, car washes anything.

Finally, one day while eating at burger king, i asked the manager if they were hiring. "yes" . application filled. hired on the spot.

I worked in that burger king four months. In the beginning it was 10 hour days. then school started and it went down to 8.

I ate dinner there tonight. Memories came and said hello like old friends:

The 4pm rushes, the dinner crowd, the constant flow of cars in the drive thru, mopping the lobby at midnight, cleaning the bathrooms and counting the money in my till. I remember some of the people. Don Carlos, Maria. While some i only recall their faces.

Four months that flew by.

Please Meet Ed

This month, I want you to meet Ed from Las Vegas. His story is very Unique and Inspiring. I asked him to put it in his own words:

" I came to America at a very young age. Being from a third world country, everything I experienced in America; I was overjoyed. There were so many different cultures coming into one place. It was all new to me. I studied hard and got good grades throughout high school. I found interest in film, sports, writing, poetry and music. Although what I failed to realize was how severe my undocumented status was. This led me to being interested in the process of our government. In a way I was disappointed in myself, here I was an undocumented student, being in the country for almost 19 years.

It wasn’t until my 12th year in an America; a sophomore in high school, did I even begin to show interest in my status. As a kid, I always thought it would get taken care of. I guess it was normal, for kids to feel that way. Most of us have parents or someone who will always be there through our adolescence. That was always the case with me. Although, I was always a kid that was fine with being on my own and breaking away from the high school stereotype. This was due to the fact, that I was already anticipating my life after high school and how it would differ from the rest of my peers. As negative as my situation is, one of the most positive things to come out of it was my general perception of life. I no longer cared about the materialistic things in life or what people wore or what they did. Did I care about if my clothes were better than theirs? Not really, I just cared on trying to better myself. It has been a long struggle and a lot of disappointment after high school.

I am now more focused on getting a degree in the medical field. While working at a local restaurant as a cook, to make sure I pay for my tuition and monthly expenses. It is a hard task, especially when I have to wake up two and a half hours before work just so I can catch the bus.

Gabe asked me why I rock? My answer is; I don’t rock, unless if it’s with others. In the same sense of a band, passing the Dream Act is a group effort and we need every single person to participate and show passion for it.

John Lennon once said ““A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.”

Throughout high school, I always had the passion for writing poetry. It was nothing along the lines of Shakespeare or even Edgar Allen Poe. As I am sure I will never be as a great as them, but I would say a little more contemporary, and more so like a song, as I was always obsessed with having my poems rhyme. I consider it creative writing that rhymes with unconventional sentence structure. Here is a poem written by me and how I have been feeling about being undocumented.

As I stare into space/

A name with no face/

A place, I want to call home/

Something, anything, I don’t want to be alone/

The world that I live in, is what I didn’t expect/

But I take it in stride, focus on what’s next/

Perplexed, on why I’ve been underachieving/

Because if you look at my past, you wouldn’t believe it/

That’s not an arrogant statement, it’s a picture I paint/

A stroke from my canvas, an artist disdained/

Every day I wake up, working minimum wage/,

I put a smile on my face, minimum dismay/

Being cautious, living life in the shallow/

A person in the back, just a mere shadow/

I could of gone many places, complacent/

But I’m left with a feeling so vacant/

It’s like playing catch-up, but suddenly my heart beats slow/

Everything’s flashing by, disappointment replaces ego/

I just want to succeed, I told god this/

Don’t place the burden on me, I am not it/

He probably thought I was strong enough to push through/

If I am, please just give me a clue/

I am at a loss for words, and everybody else wins/

I’m a patient man, but damn, it’s running real thin/

Despite the fact, I’ve been kicked and pushed/

Got off my back, with the will to move/

It’s ok to cuss and scream, “I’ve had it”/

I only look to progress, trying to kick the habit/

It’s crazy, this life we live/

How you can turn to negative to positive/

Through the anger and being depressed/

Made great friends in the same situation, that I would never second guess/

So if my light at the end of the tunnel is a little late/

I guess I can I blame it on one thing; Fate/ "

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bike Party.

Its been slow progress, but i'm starting to finally thaw out and get out of my old anti social comfort zone.

I've been invited by acquaintances to join them at a monthly bike ride called Bike Party, in San Jose. Usually pass, since 1. im not in shape 2. out of my usual things to do list (its a short list jaja)

This past friday I opted against staying in on a friday and going to sleep at 11. I called up my buddy kevin and got on the bikes. I am so glad. the ride was an experience i wont soon forget. So many people, just out riding and having fun. Over 2000 riders across 24 miles in a span of four hours.

The breeze on my face as i rode, the worry free feeling of being young.

I cant wait till the next one

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

National Back to School DREAM Act Day of Action

Today was the National Back to School DREAM Act Day of Action, united we dream and many other organizations got together to promote these events. In total there were over 120 events nation wide. From film screenings to petitions to marches and press conferences. Undocumented students and their supporters gathered the motivation to push once again for the DREAM Act.

It is September 23rd. 8 months after the new administration took place. more than a year since these words were said by the now President Barack Obama: "the DREAM Act, i believe, is something we can pass immediately"

some one please give me the definition that this administration has of Immediately

Granted there are other issues being taken on right now, but in all honesty, the amount of time it would take the people in Washington to enact the DREAM act is minuscule compared to Health care reform, Economic recovery ect ect. But the benefits it would yield to the undocumented students would be monumental.

Too bad immideately is not soon enough

Friday, September 18, 2009

Astronaut Speaks on Immigration

Jose Hernandez worked in the fields of Stockton CA. He received a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering. Went ton to get his Masters. He then became an American Astronaut. Now after returning to earth (and not having to show his earthling papers upon re-entry), he spoke out in support of Immigration reform. from the LA times:

NASA went ballistic when Jose Hernandez advocated legalization of undocumented immigrants in the U.S. shortly after his return to Earth. The California-born son of migrants isn't backing down.

After the shuttle returned Friday, Hernandez told Mexican television that he thought the U.S. should legalize the millions of undocumented immigrants living there so that they can work openly because they are important to the American economy.
Officials at NASA wigged out is more accurate.

the astronaut said he stood by what he had said earlier on the same program, advocating comprehensive immigration reform -- a keenly divisive issue in the United States.

"I work for the U.S. government, but as an individual I have a right to my personal opinions," he said in a video hookup from a Mexican restaurant owned by his wife, Adela, near NASA headquarters in Houston. "Having 12 million undocumented people here means there's something wrong with the system, and the system needs to be fixed."

He added that it seemed impractical to try to deport 12 million people

Mr. Hernandez an educated American Citizen, A latino who votes can see the common sense of immigration reform. He seems to understand the need for it.

I believe Mr. Hernandez would also support the Dream Act since it promotes education to young immigrant youth.
TV host Loret de Mola said viewers were flooding him with one question above all: How does a humble son of peasant immigrants manage to become an astronaut?

Hernandez, a father of five, cited two crucial factors: a good education and parents who forced him to study, who checked his homework and stayed involved in his schooling.

"What I always say to Mexican parents, Latino parents, is that we shouldn't spend so much time going out with friends drinking beer and watching telenovelas, and should spend more time with our families and kids . . . challenging our kids to pursue dreams that may seem unreachable," he said.

That Weight

I've written about it before. That feeling of suffocation that grips me in the morning and refuses to let me go. Those mornings in which i wake up at 4, in a cold sweat, my heart racing because of anxiety.

They used to be few and far between. Maybe once every few months, but as time has passed they have become more constant. almost to the point where they are a daily occurrence. It's hard to describe this.

My eyes just open. the dim lit room feels surprisingly small. my chest is heaving, and there is pressure on its center. Like a hand that is pushing down. Sweat covers my body. there is a cold bitter hollowness that consumes me. i feel my body, especially my hands, shaking. My whole body becomes very receptive to the slightest touch or movement. my breathing is rapid. the loneliness is amplified.

It's obvious that this is caused by the stress my undocumented status bears. Mainly the fact that, my i have zero control over my life here (i know. i know. most would argue either i do, or that no one has control of their life). It is brought upon by the thoughts and subconscious realizations that i am in Pause mode. And that everything is contingent on some variable that is so far from being with in my control.

My biggest concern is that if when this ever passes and my status gets resolved, i will still have this weight that wakes me from my sleep.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

License and Registration.

I was tailed by a police officer tonight on the way home from school. It brought back memories. I wrote this in 2007. A day after it happened:

The words alone seemed to pull me under the car and beat the shit out of me.

Again…License and Registration…

Slowing time down, millions of different scenarios taking place in my head. Some seemed like scenes out of a bad film, others were darker and more somber. In those millions of thoughts there had to be the right one; the one that would help get me out of this jam in the least harmful way. But they were flashing by too fast.

One more time…License and Registration.

Now the world grew impatient, awaiting an answer. The words resonating in my head, while everything else was dulled by their magnitude. Still under the car, only now it was moving back and forward, slowly running its wheels over me over and over again, screaming, “give him an answer, answer HIM, go, think fast, moooove!”

Slowly the cop appeared on the side of my window; he looked my age, 30 tops. “Hello officer” managed to escape my lips. “License and registration please”, I looked over at Gina; she seemed frozen, eyes wide. Calmly I replied, “Here’s the registration”, hesitation, “I don’t have a license”. There, I said it, I admitted it in front of you, gave you what you fucking wanted out of me; aren’t you a lucky son of a bitch that had to pull me over. Smile, I told myself.

And with that this seemingly normal traffic stop turned into something more. A moment where I was diminished into a criminal, judged on the circumstances and not by anything else. “Well do you have any I.D.?” hands trembling I scoured my wallet to find the appropriate thing, my University I.D. “here you go officer”. Smile. Why are my hands trembling? Look over at Gina again. Still frozen.

The cop muttered something about me going to State, some sort of feigned interest; or maybe the realization that he had possibly fucked up. “Yeah, I’m actually graduating next month.” I wondered if he’d gotten his Justice Studies Degree from state, if I’d possibly passed him by on my way to class years back? “Do you have any other form of I.D.?” Shit. I do, but not the kind that I want you to see. Again I searched through my wallet, while from the corner of my eye looking at the cop as he followed my every move. In desperation I gave him my Bank checking card, it has my picture, it’s identification isn’t it? “Got anything else?” Another cop car drove past us.

Jesus Christ! My panic began to grow. Finally I thought, fine you win, you want to see some precious I.D. well here, I gave the cop my Mexican consular ID, the famous matricula, my yellow star, my apartheid card, my “yeah I have no legal U.S. identification” identification. Take it. “ I have this,” I said as I handed it to him, not bothering to look in his direction. Don’t smile. Don’t fucking smile.

This is good,” the cop said, “I trust this more that your University I.D.” really? I would have though otherwise. “I’ll be right back, I’m going to my patrol car to make up some paper work and then ill bring your I.D. back”. Fine.

The patrol car’s search light blinded me every time I looked in the rearview, trying to see what he was doing, growing more and more frightened. I tried not to look at my sister; I didn’t want her to see me. The officer came back.

“The reason I stopped you was because the light above your license plate is out”. I didn’t believe that for a second. No, bullshit, you pulled me over because I’m driving a dirty ’91 Honda that has a rosary hanging from the rearview mirror and because I’m wearing a hat. No, not because my light’s out, but because you saw a wetback driving a car and thought that this would be a piece of cake traffic stop with no consequences on your conscience. You pulled over a stereotype and that’s all there really is to it.

“Oh” is the only thing that managed to slip past my lips. He continued, “Since it is illegal for you to drive with out a license in the state of California I will have to write you up for this, which will be a misdemeanor…” shit. A misdemeanor. “What about the light” I asked? “Well I won’t include it in the citation so that it will be a little bit less expensive for you”, thanks officer I appreciate it.

“ I’m also going to need your thumb print”, why? “You don’t have a valid federal identification, so…” I stopped listening and gave him my thumb, mumbling something about how long the misdemeanor would be in my record or some nonsense. That’s when I noticed something that seemed out of place, as I looked over to the inkpad the officer was holding I saw that his hands were shaking. Why where his hands shaking?

“Procedure is that I have to tow your car, but I’m going to go with my judgment and let you keep it” thanks officer. “I’m going to go straight to the stop sign and then make a left, what you do from there is up to you. Have nice night.” And with that he got in his car drove off like he said and the whole thing was over. I looked over to Gina, she was looking at me, we both asked each other if we were ok. Neither one answered. A few minutes passed as we sat in the car, still trying to figure out what the next step was; I didn’t want to drive Gina back to her dorm, much less back to my apartment. I looked at my sister, who was now on the phone talking with our parents, calmly trying to explain what happened. The engine of the car was off but the headlights were still on. I got out of the car, the cold wind wrapping itself around me as I walked towards the back of the car.

The red glow from the taillights covered my face as I looked at the car’s license plate; Gina came out beside me, “what’s wrong?” Nothing, nothing was wrong. That was the problem. As I stood there, covered in red, body shaking, although no longer from the cold, I saw that the license plate was fully lighted. “Lets go, we’re walking”.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lean on you

So far this year i Have met a wonderful group of young people who are faced with the same situation as I. Gladys, Prerna, Ju, Seung, Ana, Miguel, Mark, Alejandra, Beliza, Fermin, Perla.

It's so enriching to find with in this diverse group of people, a sense of community, and responsibility towards one another. We all come from different paths in life, different ages and different places. Yet our lives have converged on a single point, in a specific moment in time due to our lack of a formal existence.

The understanding of the specifics that make up our experience helps to form a special bond, where, even if there isn't 100% consensus on what we all like, or our views, we still can understand and offer support to each other.

I've said many times, one of the best things to come from my minimal involvement in the DREAM Act movement, is the ability to meet and spend time with fellow DREAMers.

Today I look forward to going to Stanford to meed up with Fermin, and spending time in San Francisco, just being two American Youths.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11

It had been sunny the day before. That morning i woke to rain. weird. "Gabriel, there is something happening..." my mother called from the living room. I begrudgingly got up, and walked over to the television. What i saw next was surreal, and it changed the nation and the immigration discourse for ever.

I called Tony. yo you watchin this? "yeah....i think Nicole was one of the planes..." what? no man dont worry all the planes are grounded, it will be fine.

Glued to the television, scared for what was happening. refusing to register fully. this is a dream, a bad one. wake up.

Phone. What time is it? "hey... Nicole's plane crashed in PA..." what... " yeah, she was flying out of boston..."

Undocumented or not. 9-11 touched me. Nicole, Tony's step sister, had sat in front of me during algebra 3-4. I let her copy from my notes. I said hi when i spent the night at Tony's. A year older, she was a senior.

In a moment of fear, hatred, and heroism her life was taken from us.

Economies of Scale

My supervisor taunted me with a raise back in late may. 8.5 to 9.5 that's an extra 200 dollars a month, which would help.

All this week he told me, dont worry, it will be reflected in this check. I opened the check. Pay Rate. 8.50. This is what it adds up to: 1061 per month.

460- rent
20 -utilities
120 -gas
45- phone
80-credit card
45- car insurance
100-random (car light bulb, toiletries ect)

comes up to : $945.
Leaving about $116.

My Debt: $3500 (school, overdraft, ect)

As a side note- Total i Leech from society:
Hospital costs: 0
Student loans, fed aid ect. :0

Do the math alipac.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Legalize LA- more companies should follow suit

Just ran into this, over at American Apparel , the company came up while me and my father were having dinner, i was unaware of their stand on immigration reform. One quick google search and here we are. It even seems they can see the pragmatism behind such legislation such as DREAM act.

Recently due to an ICE probe American Apparel had to layoff thousands of its employees. Here's what founder and Chief Executive Dov Charney wrote in a letter to the laid off employees:

"Many of you have been with me for so many years, and I just cry when I think that so many people will be leaving the company," he wrote. "It is my belief that immigrants bring prosperity to any economy." - LA times

The following is a small snippet of the Legalize LA section of the American Apparel site.

Legalize Today! A note from a friend
Strong Voices
"I Dream American's Dream, My name is M, I grew up in beautiful Venice, California. Welcome to the neighborhood! Back in 1988 I was brought to the United States from Mexico. I was 4 then and I'm now 25. I am "an illegal" but legally I'm just undocumented. I am American as apple pie. I've earned a B.A. in Sociology from The Humboldt State University where I also played American Football. Despite my qualifications and preparation to become a productive member of society, I cannot legally work. This land is home to me for the same reason it is home to opportunity. The reason I'm writing you today is because I would love to work with the Legalize LA campaign. I am a valuable asset to the campaign. I can give speeches, work on different ways of advertising and marketing the cause. I have numerous ideas on ways to get the truth about my situation out to the whole country. I will need your help. Your company is classy, your product is clean, and you're respected. The people of the United States must understand my people to be the same. Together we can reform immigration in our country.


It is very encouraging to see such progressive thinking on the part of a company, which continues to push for humane immigration reform.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Un poco de vida (a little bit of life)

Things have been gradually changing in my life. I started School on tuesday. Taking a computer networking Class, which prepares one to be certified by Cisco Systems (CCNA). Pretty regular nerd stuff, IP addresses, routers, binary code ect. Its nice to be back in the class room. feels like im working towards something again. Rather than aimlessly navigating.

Also been almost 2 months since i moved into the apartment. So far its great. cooking with Kyle, sleeping in my bed (not a couch). having some privacy. Granted, it still gets lonely sometimes. there are days where it's hard to wake up and get out of bed. But it's getting better.

Getting somewhat more involved with DREAM actions. Going to be handling some conference calls for a while, and managing data for . Starting to plan another action. I feel good about actually getting more involved this year than before.

Met our neighbors. Most are college students. one Guy Yao is like the apartment guru, he always knows whats going on and says "hello". Kinda nice to have around. Our next door neighbors are three sorority girls. Which might not be so great, having parties every thurs~sat, but they seem nice enough. On Monday they invited me to a party, with their sorority and their brother Fraternity.

I figured, it's first friday's (art show) ill do that, then swing by. I never had a full college experience, so i think ill go to my first frat party as a 27 year old college grad. I hope i can still hang haha.

It's nice though. To slowly thaw out of my self imposed hermitage.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Worst Person of the week?

This douche bag:

Carl Braun, over at the San Diego Examiner. Reason he is a douche bag and WPOTW? because of his pushing of misinformation on his article (although towards the end there is a twist?):

Since when does Immigration Reform mean Open Borders and Amnesty?

They emigrated here about 100 years ago, legally through Ellis Island and staked their claim to the American Dream. They went through incredible hardships to get here and continued to work hard to become Americans

"legally" which meant at the time, being disease free and signing an X after arriving on Ellis Island. Nice Mr Braun. We should revert to THAT immigration process then, where do i put my X sir?

As for hardships? I and my peers have had none. And i barely speak English so it seems i'm not working hard enough to become American.

Illegal Immigrants come here because they simply want to and they cannot or will not do it the LEGAL way. It really is very simple. Millions get in line to do it properly every year. Illegal immigrants have NO RIGHT to be here. Granted, the system is messed up (thanks again Teddy) but violating it is really no different than saying you don’t like the price of the food in the grocery store so you’re just going to walk out the door with the product without paying for it.

Well, at least he acknowledges the system is messed up. Now if he could only get his brain to figure out that there is No line to get in. Baby steps i suppose.

While we are at it, fix the system, deport those that are criminals and give everyone else that are not supposed to be here a choice, leave or prove WHY you should stay? What are you contributing to our society? Did you commit any other crimes in America, other than crossing the border illegally? If not, let’s take a closer look but no guarantees.

No, it is not possible in my opinion to deport all twenty million plus illegal aliens nor should we. Many have been here for decades, made a solid contribution to our country and are otherwise law-abiding residents. If the tables were turned and Mexico gave Americans a green light to come aboard for all the benefits and opportunity you can bet your bottom dollar some Americans would have done it even though it may have been illegal. Doesn’t make it right but it would have happened nonetheless. We should however deport every criminal we get our hands on and properly secure the border so they cannot get back in. This is critical.

Interesting...this sounds kinda like something called...Comprehensive Immigration wait for it... REFORM.


Monday, August 31, 2009

In Seven Days You Can Help Defeat Anti-Immigrant Bigotry

I ran Across this great post by Eric Ward over at imagine 2050 . Eric provides six online actions that each of us can take to counter the Anti Immigrant hatred found in the media and online. I urge All of you to take a minute to click on the link below and read this great post.

In Seven Days You Can Help Defeat Anti-Immigrant Bigotry

"Time is of the essence and we should use it wisely. Instead of writing what I think of anti-immigrant bigotry I’ve decided to use this week to take action. Below I’ve outlined an action for each day of the week. You can take a bite out of bigotry in less than five minutes a day! Let’s all join together and redeem the soul of America!"

“I felt like such a foreigner”

The text message stayed in my mind all afternoon. I had received it earlier in the morning. It was sent by my sister Gina, who is currently in Washington DC, studying at American University as part of an exchange program.

A foreigner. Gina who has been in this country since she was 14 months old. Months. Gina, who graduated Valedictorian, ran cross country, Interned at a bank, and goes to Santa Clara University. A foreigner. Gina, who danced ballet, who is a major in American Politics, who as a child loved macaroni and cheese. A foreigner.

This thought just doesn’t check in my mind. It’s like I am trying to place a cube block into a circle slot. It does not make sense no matter how hard I try.

What can I tell her? That this feeling of being an outsider will pass? That the nagging feeling, the one that tells you don’t belong anywhere, is temporary?

Should I tell her that as you get older, and the more marginalized you become, the worse it gets? How it seems as if more and more you are becoming detached from the culture you grew up in, the culture you love, only to be left with a muddled identity crisis?

How do I tell my younger sister, that despite the fact that she feels 100% American, she will never be 100% American?

I can’t

“Thanks to this shit, we feel like outsiders everywhere. It’s not you”

Mind Numbing

About one year ago I moved back to San Jose. I had gotten a call about a job prospect the night before, and drove up that following morning. The “interview” went well. “Do you speak English” yes. Ok you’re hired.

It was a warehouse position, and there were a total of four of us hired. A guy my age Just in from Guadalajara, A man in his 40’s from Mexico City, a 30 year old drunkard from god knows what part of Mexico, and a 30 something Ex -Con USC from San Jose.

The job was to last two weeks. It consisted of packing 40 pound SAN servers into cardboard boxes and then loading the boxes into stacks (2 wide x 8 high) on pallets, wrapping and tying the pallets and loading them into trucks. One person, one pallet. This was the work, and it was done from 8am to 6pm. Non stop, except for the 30 minutes we got for lunch.

While we worked, the four of them chatted, the older gentleman from Mexico City talked about his days as a carpet cleaner in Sunnyvale, while the guy from Guadalajara told us how he was a taxi driver back “home” but gas prices were killing his work. They asked about me. I was vague and rude. “Where are you from?” I’m from San Jose. “Why is your English so good?” I’ve been here a long time. “What do you do?” I work and you should too.

At first I would try to keep my mind busy. I spent my time thinking about derivatives, physic problems from the past or trying to look at the manufacturing process on the floor and see what I could improve. I even attempted to read my old text books at lunch time.

Yet I grew angry. At them. For coming here. For making the choice to cross, while I had no choice. At the ex-con. For taking his birthright for granted. At me. For slowly letting go. Towards the end of the two weeks, I was resigned. If this was what I was going to do, be a warehouse day laborer, a mojado, a wetback. Then so be it. No more shaving. No more worrying about how I looked. No more thinking. Just work. Keep your head down. and take it.

But it’s hard.

It’s hard because I am not a mojado. Because I did not make that choice. Yet I don’t feel American. Because I am only partially recognized by the country I love. So what am I?

this brings us to my next post.


We Got a couch. Yes. life is good sometimes.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

DREAM Act should become real as soon as possible

Reposting an Article By the Tricity Herald editorial staff

"Imagine you are a child and your parents tell you the family is moving.

You may not want to go, and you probably don't fully understand why your parents want to leave in the first place.

But what choice do you have? You're just a kid.

So you go with your family.

Years later, you discover your family entered the country illegally. You also realize you and your family could be deported at any time.

But you've grown up in this new country. You've made friends. You've gone to school. You may have joined the school band or sports teams or even been elected class president. This is your home.

So you continue on and find a way to go to college. It's expensive and you make sacrifices, like nearly all college kids do, but for you there is no guarantee it will be worth it.

Sure, you can get the degree. But will you be able to use it?

Probably not.

This is the predicament for hundreds of young people, who through no fault of their own have an "illegal" status.

Comprehensive immigration reform is a huge, controversial issue that is likely to stagnate for years.

But there is a piece of it that could be sliced away to help these young people.

It's called the DREAM Act and it needs to become a reality as quickly as possible.

Under the DREAM Act only certain people who meet the criteria would qualify for conditional permanent resident status, meaning they could stay in the country legally for six years.

During that time, they would be able to work, drive and go to school on the same terms as other Americans.

They would not be eligible for Pell Grants or certain other federal financial aid grants. But they could apply for student loans and federal work study programs.

After the six years, they would be granted unrestricted permanent residency status as long as they didn't commit any crimes and didn't take lengthy trips abroad. They also must have either served in the U.S. armed forces for two years or graduated from a two year-college or vocational school or spent two years studying for a higher degree.

This proposed legislation is narrow enough to apply only to those illegal immigrants who entered the country as children, attended school and are on their way to becoming model citizens.

To qualify, the children must have entered the U.S. before their 16th birthdays and have lived in the country for at least five years. They need to have a high school diploma or its equivalent, or been admitted to college or some other institution of higher education.

Critics will say the DREAM Act is an end run around immigration reform. But it really isn't. It applies only to certain individuals who were too young to know they were breaking the law when they entered the country.

Some critics also might say the DREAM Act will attract even more illegal families to the United States. But that's not a certainty.

There are a variety of reasons people try to sneak into the U.S. Primarily, it's to find work.

And they usually get it.

They work in the fields and the factories and in menial jobs for low pay that most other Americans aren't desperate enough to want.

The United States has created a net of problems by not enforcing its immigration laws, and innocent children end up getting tangled in an unfair and flawed system.

U.S. laws are ignored to keep a cheap labor force. The country then welcomes all children into its education system.

We use tax money to educate illegal immigrant children through high school, allow them to earn college degrees and then offer no way for them to stay in the country legally. Should we send them away so another country can reap the benefits of their knowledge, skills and talent?

Where's the sense in that?

For most of these illegal students, going "home" means going to a country where they feel like a foreigner. Many don't have a support system to help them, as their family has moved away.

And if they are deported or voluntarily return to their homeland, under the current law they must wait 10 years to apply to re-enter the United States. Then they are put on a waiting list.

For the most part, these students are exactly the kind of hard-working, determined young citizens the country needs. Their lives shouldn't be put on hold because they were too young to know they were breaking national laws.

The DREAM Act would help them achieve their goals, and it would help keep the U.S. from wasting its educational investment.

Washington's two senators support the bill. U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings told participants at a recent town hall meeting that the issue ought to be part of a comprehensive reform package.

Immigration laws are in desperate need of an overhaul, but these deserving young people easily could grow old waiting for that to happen.

This is a piece of immigration reform that is doable. Hastings and the rest of Congress should get behind it."