Writing because no one in the “movement” listens

This week I dedicate my blog post to my dear friend Azul. She recently wrote about experiencing loss*, one that I cannot fully comprehend. Not only did she have to endure the pain that comes from losing a loved one, but also the indignation that stems from U.S. immigration law preventing her from returning to the U.S. to be present at her nephew’s funeral. How can mobility restrictions like these be considered just?

Azul’s story is one of many postreturn/postdeportation experiences of struggle that unfortunately immigrant activists on both sides of the borders forget (or deliberately leave out) in their fight and narrative. There are those that want to portray a return to Mexico as an opportunity to continue (what I call) the “American Dream” disguised in a Mexican flag, as well as the the U.S. immigrant advocates who have limited their campaigns to the immigrants north of the Mexico-US border. Forget about the 2 million deported (and counting) under President Obama that may never be able to return to their families. Once you are back “where you come from”, nobody cares, nobody listens, nobody fights for you.

Azul
Azul on #TogetherWithoutBorders campaign**

Maybe you get a “Like” on a blog post, or a Retweet here and there if people accidentally notice your existence in social media (at least there are not borders there). If you are lucky, then you are included in a book or featured in a local news article or segment that still doesn’t give justice to your entire experience, especially the painful parts. Azul’s story may never make it today’s national or international headlines because she is not a refugee from Syria or one fleeing from the generalized violence in Central America. Few will deem her case urgent, important, or part of the humanitarian crisis the media around the world has been overzealous to include in their fragmented coverage lacking any depth. At best, Azul may get a visitor on her blog or a post on her Facebook page with a note or comment of sympathy. But that will never give back what was taken from her.

I then start to ask myself if there will ever be true solidarity and support so Azul doesn’t have to continue to be in exile from her true home in the U.S.

Her struggle is not one I see included by immigrant rights movements because their narrow and shortsighted fight is not about justice for ALL. It appears to me that if you don’t fit into the right category of migrant that is deemed worth fighting for, then I guess you are SOL.

* From Azul’s blog “Guide to Belonging Everywhere”

** For more on #TogetherWithOutBorder click HERE

Updated 13:30 hrs: Added picture of Azul with footnote in addition to gramatical corrections.

Launching our Podcast “Home and Away: All American, Always Mexican”

Instead of writing a long post, I take the opportunity to share with you a new project I am embarking with my friend Azul.

Both of us are returnees – one through “voluntary” departure and the other one due to a deportation, although it is hard to tell the difference sometimes. Both of us are bloggers and for the past couple of years we have embarked in a friendship that has helped me make sense of our (non)belonging we have been experiencing, particularly since our return to Mexico.  A friendship full of amazing conversations where we explore, discuss and dissect our own existence and how we view contemporary issues from our binational and bicultural perspectives. Now we’ll like to share them with our followers.

Hope you join these two “binational broads abroad” as we launch our Podcast series “Home and Away: All American, Always Mexican”.

Clikc HERE to Tune-in to our first episode:

What the past can teach immigrant advocates of today

In paying my respects to those that came before me and their struggle due to their legal status, I share an excerpt of this 1995 LA Times article featuring the first undocumented student body President of California State University, Northridge, Vladimir Cerna (1996-1997), about his life and advocacy efforts to fight the Donald Trumps of his time.

 

Translation from German: “No one is Illegal” Photo credit: Nancy Landa

 

There is section of the article that caught my attention, when Vladimir recalls the judge’s statement during an immigration hearing where he and his family were granted legal status:

He [judge] said that when you take a young plant from the ground and put it in a pot, that plant can grow for years. The roots form. It expands. And it is unrealistic to expect that the plant can now be ripped from the pot and asked to adapt to the land it came from.*

If only policy-makers and society at large were able to understand the judge’s reasoning, migration policy would look very different today not only for undocumented youth that have grown up in a country that has legally excluded them, but also for their families who are only seeking a better life. Perhaps today there would exist more legal routes for people to immigrate instead of the escalation of restrictive immigration policies we have seen in the past two decades.

If only today’s generation of U.S. undocumented youth and immigrant advocates understood more about the history of the struggle for immigrant rights, the fight and narrative might be different, more inclusive of those that have been arbitrarily left out of current immigration policies including economic migrants, failed asylum-seekers and deportees. Maybe the past has the answer to what the future of the immigrant movement should look like and that is where we should start if we are to counteract the current migration “crisis” we are seeing around the globe, from Europe to the Unites States.

Let 2016 be the year we build more bridges instead of borders so that we create a world that honors humanity over hate and ignorance. A world where love and respect transcend the men-made walls that have separated us from “them”. Optimism and commitment to the good fight in times of crisis are only for the brave. Cheers!

*Click HERE for full article, “Life After 187 : CSUN Student Looks Past Controversy to Future”, Los Angeles Times, October 15, 1995.

¿Dreamers en México?

Tuve el gusto de dialogar con la última de varias delegaciones de “Dreamers en México” que conocí durante su visita a México por medio de la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores (SRE), en un encuentro entre los que venían de allá (Estados Unidos) y los que ya estábamos aquí (México). La lucha del movimiento de jóvenes indocumentados en Estados Unidos la conozco, ya que en un momento yo pertenecía a esta, pero nunca acabas de conmoverte por la resilencia que vez en cada historia de vida. Así que me di el tiempo de escucharlos, el ver que tan importante era para ellos reconectarse con sus raíces después de décadas de no haber estado en su país de origen. Al mismo tiempo, como se los dije en persona, yo soy crítica de estas delegaciones de Dreamers traídas por el gobierno mexicano. No por la oportunidad que se les brinda de visitar a su país, si no por el contexto y las circunstancias en las que sucede.

Al ver el siguiente vídeo, me queda claro que esto es propaganda del gobierno mexicano, en donde se difunde el mensaje de que apoya a los Dreamers. Habría que preguntarse, ¿a cuales Dreamers? Les aseguro que no somos los hemos llegado a México de manera involuntaria y que vivimos sin la opción de regresar a vivir a EE.UU.

Creo que para empezar un diálogo honesto con nuestros compañer@s Dreamers al norte de la frontera sobre una solidaridad en una lucha transnacional (tema que tocamos en nuestro encuentro) se tiene que reconocer nuestro posicionamiento. La verdad es que lo que yo esperaría de los que se llaman ser solidarios con nosotros en México, es que reconocieran abiertamente de qué se trata su lucha, la cual no es de regresar a México si no de poder quedarse en EE.UU. Al final del vídeo se hace referencia a aquel México que se ve como una potencia económica, pero al mismo tiempo, se pierde de vista los problemas serios que tenemos de derechos humanos.

Aquí en México, los activistas, periodistas y personas que luchan por un cambio lo hacen corriendo el riesgo de perder sus vidas. Aun siendo una economía emergente, vivimos en uno de los países más desiguales del mundo. Esta es la verdad que se les escapa a los que se comen el discurso del gobierno. No cabe duda que México es un país hermoso y que hay mucho que apreciar, más si vienes de visita y no tienes la necesidad de quedarte en este país indefinidamente. 

Una vez más, los Dreamers que estamos en México somos invisibilizados con la ayuda de los mismos activistas del pro-movimiento inmigrante en EE.UU., los que hablan de un México “lindo y querido” que con orgullo promueven. Pero irónicamente, prefieren estar de regreso al país en el que están arraigados, y este no es México, mientras que nosotros seguimos en el olvido, sin poder ejercer nuestro derecho de también pertenecer allá, en las comunidades donde crecimos en EE.UU. #NiDeAquíNiDeAllá #DreamerTourism

6 years down…

Today is my ‪#‎postdeportation‬ anniversary. 6 down, 4 more to go.

I want to give a shout-out to my Twinner, Happy Cosmopolite, who understands what a date like today is like:

A guide to belonging everywhere

nancy!

Nancy is my “Twinner”- we were both forced back to Mexico on September, 2009. She was sent back on September 1st, 4 days before I to set foot on Mexican soil.

It’s funny (in a sad kind of way) to think that we weren’t even that far from each other- she was in Tijuana and I arrived in Hermosillo. Our sentences will be up September 2019, and it’s sort of incredible to think that I have made it this long with an amputation as severe and heart breaking as being denied my family and a part of my home.

For all of you who have not had the pleasure of meeting Nancy in person, let me say that Nancy is one of the most passionate, articulate, kind, and fearless people that I know. She has made this burden so much more lighter and shown me that I was not alone…

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