For almost 20 years, I lived under the shadows as an undocumented immigrant during my stay in the U.S. (except for a lapse of time I enjoyed legal status with a temporary work permit).
More than a decade after my abrupt deportation in 2009, I am still working on putting my life back together. I had become part of the over 2 million immigrants (DHS 2013) that have been deported under President Obama’s first term and are often forgotten once we are south of the border.
And I could have stayed in the shadows of deportation the rest of my life…
But after hearing the announcement on June 15, 2012, that President Obama was halting deportations for young undocumented immigrants, I felt compelled to do something. I wrote him a letter* that I submitted via the White House official page, which I later decided to share with my friends and media outlets that covered immigration issues. My main objective was to highlight the impact of the lack of comprehensive immigration reform, and what it has done for the millions that have experienced removal from a country they call home.
For many who currently do not qualify for this policy change (known as Deferred Action), this was a bittersweet victory. It is a step forward for the hundreds of thousands of DREAMers that see a glimpse of hope; and for us that have been left out (either because we got kicked out too early or do not meet the requirements) feel that there is much that needs to be done.
Regardless of your views on the issue, my hope is that through my story, there is a deeper understanding of the complexity of the immigration system, which I believe it is broken with inflexibility and inhumanity used as mechanisms of enforcement.
I do not attempt to speak for all deportees, however, I feel is important to share with the world what my experience has been in dealing with the hardships of living as an undocumented immigrant, the trauma that deportation has left in my family and I, and what life has been after.
Maybe, just maybe, those that prefer to view us as “criminals” or “illegals” can learn to relate to each of us as a human being or a “Citizen of the World” (the meaning of my Spanglish blog name).
I look forward to the ongoing dialogue……
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* Click Here to read a response to a letter from the White House