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.
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 no 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 in 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 in the right category of migrants 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.