Saturday, July 25, 2009

Another small step forward

Taha was granted deferred action by DHS.

A little background on Taha

Like Walter Lara, Taha Mowla was brought to the USA when he was a toddler.

He has lived in Jersey City for more than 16 years.

On July 29, 2009, he will be deported to Bangladesh - a country that he has no memory of or connection to. -SEIU

One more DREAMer that was about to be handed back to a country that he does not know. A foreign country to him. But with the efforts of many, through calls, emails, faxes and web activism, the DHS granted a deferred action for Taha. He gets to remain in his home, at least for one more year.

This from

This is another testament to our power as a movement! Its known that after a two hour interview with immigration officials he was granted deferred action and was asked to tell all of his supporters to stop flooding their office with faxes.

Our Response….Never! Until the deportation and detention of all DREAMERS is realized

The individual deferrals of undocumented students under deportation orders is a victory for the DREAM movement, but it is a small band aid to an otherwise gaping wound. DREAM Act is the necessary action.

Until the DREAM Act is pased, Janet Napolitano and the DHS should issue an order which would stop ALL deportation orders and court hearings for DREAM candidates. This would at least allow many of us undocumented students to continue our struggle with just a bit less fear and more resolve.

Let's start by pressuring Sec. Napolitano to take such action, call DHS and tell Sec. Napolitano to stop the deportation orders, and court proceedings for all DREAM candidates, until passage of the DREAM Act.


Homeland Security chief pushes immigration reform

The nation's security chief used a speech in Monterey to push for immigration reform.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told an annual gathering of federal judges and court officials Monday that immigration reform is on the top of her list of pressing issues.

Napolitano told the opening of the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference in Monterey that she will be involved in the drafting of reform legislation being pushed by the Obama administration.

She urged the judges and officials in attendance to weigh in with their congressional representatives before an open hearing process begins this fall.

Go one step further Ms. Napolitano, Order the immediate halt of deportation orders and Court hearings for DREAM candidates, until passage of the DREAM Act.

thats what scares me

"You're strong enough to know you can get through this. But you're intelligent enough to realize how fucked your situation is." -Vien Dobui (2006)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Telling Lance

I have known Lance since I was 16. We had pre-calculus together, hung out during lunch and passed several Saturday schools (due to tardies) together. I consider him one of my closest friends.
Yet I had never told him my status. It always made me uncomfortable, having to avoid the reasons why i kept postponing that awesome trip to Mexico we both wanted to take (Lance lived in Uruguay for 2 years, and probably speaks better Spanish than me), or having to embellish on my shitty job situation.

Last night via Facebook (of all places) I linked Lance to the intro of this blog. His reaction below:


That is very powerful!

i had no idea that you were undocumented or not technically a citizen


me neither really

not until 16

but its been a secret too long

and since i am tired of hiding it

i wrote about it

and have started to tell my closest friends


That really blows my mind

is there any recourse to becoming a citizen now...

or are you screwed if you turn to the government?


no path way but marrige

and i wont do a fake one

or this legislation


which is what i advocate for


i am going to look it up


I can't imagine the idea of you not be allowed to become a citizen


en verdad


you are as much of an american to me as anyone else i know...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Good vs Bad Immigrant

Julianne Hing (from wrote about Walter Lara's delayed deportation, and took the time to point out an interesting and increasingly apparent topic in the immigration movement discourse, "good" vs "bad".

The immigration rights movement, forced into a defensive posture, is down on its knees begging for crumbs. Pleading to keep only the “good” immigrants in the country, those who will labor with their heads down, without asking for rights. DREAMers are in the business of selling an image as a class of exceptional, pristine high achievers. The language of the DREAM Act demands that those who would benefit from its passage be of “good moral character.”

When the DREAM Act is passed, heck, when immigration reform gets passed, people in this country will feel so magnanimous. But families will still get torn apart because we insist on dividing immigrants into two camps: the good and deserving, and the bad and unworthy.
This fissure in the immigration discourse is counter productive. Julianne goes on to say:

Who has room in their hearts for people whose life stories also include a past of pedestrian crimes or even larger transgressions, when we reduce the immigrant community to the Walter Lara's in it? Who has time to fight for those whose lives are contextualized within the struggles of real-life racism and poverty?
Walter Lara should never be deported, but neither should have any of the people we met in Jamaica. The very same people we'd met who'd been convicted of deportable crimes had also put down roots in the United States.
As a DREAM Act potential-beneficiary i feel somewhat disturbed by this argument, this differentiation, this division and labeling of "good" immigrant and "bad" immigrant.

As an undocumented Immigrant I have had to work the typical menial underground economy jobs, and from them i had the privilege to meet many other immigrants from different areas of the immigrant spectrum.

I don't differentiate and neatly separate immigrants into little clumps. I've met people who have crossed deserts , have been hidden in trunks, or overstayed. They were mothers, fathers daughters and sons. All of these people are here because they wanted something better. All work their asses off, many under horrible conditions, often 12 hrs per day.

Ms. hing refers to these immigrants as:

the “good” immigrants in the country, those who will labor with their heads down, without asking for rights.

Yet what is necessarily so wrong with wanting these people to stay? because they follow the law? because they "keep their heads down" and stay out of trouble? i fail to see the issue with having these immigrants stay. Ms. Hing also tries to differentiate between DREAMers and other undocumented immigrants (a practice that i see becoming much too common).

I am an undocumented immigrant who has had the privileged of being able to attend college, and receive an education. But i am an undocumented immigrant, and as such I want Immigration reform, not only for me but for all those hard working people i have met. I fight for DREAM Act because i believe it is a viable step forward towards a solution to this issue.

I don't however, believe that if you did any of the following things (from Ms Hing's article) , you deserve to stay in this country:

We met people who'd been deported because they were convicted for possession of several kilos of cocaine. We met a man who was ordered removed from the country because he shot another person.

These are criminal Acts in ANY country, and regardless of the fact that these people laid down roots in the US they are generating more harm than good. What is the benefit of having a drug dealer avoid deportation?

What is so bad about believing that a hard working undocumented woman deserves to stay and an undocumented potential murder should be deported?

I suppose Ms Hing might be right in pointing out that there are "good" and "bad" immigrants. I just fail to see the harm done by keeping drug dealers, murderers, rapists and gang members out while providing students, laborers, mothers, fathers ect. a pathway to regularization.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Being Undocumented and dealing with change

Of my 20 years as an undocumented immigrant only during 10 have I been aware of the magnitude of my lack of papeles, and during these ten years life has been a roller coaster of change.

It's hard enough to make plans as a "normal" person, so making plans for me (and i assume other undocumented students) is no easy feat. One day things seem to be heading in one direction, the next they take a massive 36.98 degree twist. Change is inevitable. It is a necessity and yet it can often be an inconvenience.

I've been surrounded by change for these ten years. So much change, that it's kind of hard to have any stability. Example, in the past 2 years i've had 6 jobs, lived in 4 different places, and lost then gained only to lose again 10 pounds. Change.

Yet you roll with the punches as best as one can. Often times, the weight of shit wears you down, while a few times the excitement of what is possible takes over and it becomes a thrill. One thing is true, being undocumented, you never know whats next. Long term planning is like building a sand castle at the shore while the tide comes up. So you go short term and take small strides forward. When change comes you meet it head on, roll with it and move to the next challenge.

Change can help a person grow, expand themselves and learn to adapt. It can fuck one up. It can make one stronger. Change is a catalyst for growth.

Yesterday i encountered my newest change. I got an apartment with an artist friend of mine. We are going to sign the lease tomorrow. Month to month, since i cant commit to a year lease. But this change deviates my path from my San Francisco plan, and it does so because i made the decision to go back to school. Another small stride.

Personally for me, change gives me chills. Not the good kind, but the "oh shit what mess am i in now" kind. But for some odd reason things always seem to work themselves out. Sometimes i think im in a fucked up version of Jim Carey's "Truman Show", and if that is the case, the please mail the producers and tell them i need papeles by next season.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Walter Lara

This was the best news I received yesterday:

Today, after 48 hours of intense activism by Congressional Leaders, bloggers, and thousands of grassroots activists who made calls and sent letters on Walter Lara's behalf, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) moved to defer 23-year old Lara's scheduled deportation back one year until July 3, 2010.

Walter, a young man who was brought to the United States at age three, was being deported because of a broken immigration system that has consistently failed to provide a way to legalize him. He is a 4.0 student, studies Computer Animation and has remained out of trouble.

But that's who Immigration and Customs Enforcement wants to deport. Students, hardworking youth, potential soldiers. American Kids with out a social security card.

Walter's Deportation deferral is a blessing, but it is also a symbolic victory for me. It is a sliver of hope that, maybe, just maybe, this administration and these congress men and women have finally started to realize that we are not "foreign invaders" but just marginalized Americans.

Ill end this post with Walter's touching speech.

"Today, words cannot express my gratitude to Secretary Janet Napolitano, Senator Bill Nelson, Representatives Corrine Brown, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, and the thousands of grassroots activists whose unified efforts have given me a second chance to live out my American Dream.

"As I look to celebrate Independence Day with family and friends this weekend, I have once again seen what makes America the best country in the world. Americans are fair, just, and kind. When we unite our strength to defend our shared values--opening rather than shutting the doors of opportunity--we can achieve anything. As I have said before, America is the only country I have known and I am an American. I have never been more proud to say that than I am today.

"But even as the dust settles on this tremendous personal victory, my sights are clearly set on the struggle ahead to build a long-term future for me and the more than 2 million like me whose lives may be cut short and dreams deferred.

"The action taken by the leaders in Congress and the Department of Homeland Security is an acknowledgment that our immigration laws are broken. The DREAM Act, if passed, would help people like myself, who came here through no fault of their own, stay in this country, be put on a path to citizenship and contribute to our nation."

Please pass the DREAM Act.
Please support undocumented American youth
Please call your senators and Congresspeople and say
"I support the DREAM Act, you should too"