It was five years ago that I wrote this letter addressed to Former President Obama, after he announced the Deferred for Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program which leaves out millions of undocumented immigrants, including those of us who have been deported.
I just want to take the opportunity to remind my followers why this blog was started. Anything I could say about the demands I expressed on the letter would only be a regurgitation of what I have been saying about the deportee cause all along. You get tired of feeling that you don’t exist in the migrant rights conversation north of the border.
However, I have been encouraged by friends and colleagues I have met along the way to continue to tell my story which has found ways to spread in other platforms. My experience of deportation and a copy of the letter to Obama has been included in the book An Immigrant Generation’s Fight for Their American Dream by author and journalist Eileen Truax.
Thank you to those of you who have supported me along this journey. The struggle continues.
A personal essay (Spanish) of my journey in the past year near the southern Mexican border, my criticism of Mexican civil society organizations working on migrants rights and the hypocrisy of advocacy efforts on both sides of the Mexico-US border.
¿K’uxi elan avo’onton? es una expresión que se usa para saludar dentro de las comunidades indígenas tsotsiles en Chiapas. Me explicaron que su traducción literal es “¿Cómo está tu corazón?” Ha sido una de las más lindas expresiones que he escuchado y que no llegué a pronunciar correctamente, pero me llenaba de felicidad cuando me respondían, “Lek oy”, “muy bien”. Lo que sí aprendí es que es más que una expresión. Representa otra manera de pensar. Desde este saludo se combate la superficialidad a la que nos hemos acostumbrado cuando nos preguntan: “¿Cómo estás?”, al cual la mayoría respondemos “bien”, de manera robótica, aunque en realidad no lo estemos.
La pregunta ¿K’uxi elan avo’onton? también es una invitación a la reflexión desde el corazón, porque no solo desde ahí se siente, también se piensa. Para yo poder responderla, tendría que volver a mirar hacia esa parte dentro mí que había hecho a un lado por mucho tiempo, porque era mejor no sentir el dolor causado por las rupturas que he sufrido a lo largo de mi vida como migrante. Pronto me di cuenta que no tenía certeza de en qué condición estaba mi corazón, ni si lo tenía intacto. ¿Habrá estado conmigo en los últimos 7 años que he estado en México o parte de él se habrá quedado en Los Ángeles, donde viví 20 años de mi vida antes de ser deportada?
In the past three years, I have spoken to several media outlets who have taken an interest in my deportation story. I have lost count. But recently, I was outreached by Aljazeera’s The Stream to join other deportees and this was certainly a new experience. I ended up being a part of a unique platform that connected many voices, expanding beyond the Mexican deportee experience – from El Salvador to Cambodia.
Thirty-five minutes are hardly enough to engage in an in-depth conversation about a complex experience, but we do what we can in the allotted space. I was particularly interested in hearing from perspectives from El Salvador, but I was quickly disappointed by Eddie. Not only does he feed into the criminalization discourse that justifies our deportation – that being undocumented should make you a criminal. The worst part is hearing this from someone who himself has experienced removal. But then again, he hardly represents the stories of many from his country who are fleeing violence and looking for a dignified life somewhere else. Thank goodness for Hector Barajas from Deported Veterans, whose story demonstrates the cruelty of deportation policies – he will not be able to go back to the U.S. until he dies, when he will brought back in a casket to receive a proper U.S. burial in a national cemetery. I really hope he is able to return to his family before that happens.
I will say no more, you know my views. Now on to let you have your own opinions about it.
On a final note, I also would like to invite you (assuming your not a hater) to post your comment on the show’s Youtube link. It is disheartening to have to read comments that are mostly hateful and ignorant. I know that is not what the majority in the US think about us – they are just a loud minority that don’t have anything better than to propagate hate and xenophobia. Till next time!