I had not realized how much I missed writing until I began drafting this post. A year ago when I had decided to put this blog to rest, I was certain that I was ready to find other avenues for expression, but life took its course and I had to place writing on the back burner. Work has been all-consuming and it kept me busy navigating diplomatic and political spaces where I had limited avenues for expression (at least my honest feelings and opinions about the state of migration in Mexico). Maybe that is part of the reason that now feel compelled to come back to this small concern of virtual space to let myself just be.
Also, looking at my most recent post, I realized I was also fed up with things. I had accumulated grievances along this post-deportation journey and was unclear on what to do with this blog. Also, just the thought of investing limited time to plan and create content became a deterrent. Taking a break was probably a good decision at the moment as I was also dealing with many changes. I will admit that during the last year there were times when I thought –This would be something interesting to write about in Mundo Citizen. But it was easier to plan on just keeping this blog an archive of the first decade after deportation. And so time passed by and well, here we are a year later.
But I came to admit to myself that this craft is something I want to continue to work on, and maybe there is a way to resolve all the issues that led me to take a break. Maybe writing can be more than just ramblings and frustrations on the post-deportation fight and struggle. I won’t know unless I try. Putting myself in the shoes of a reader that has come to this blog with a genuine interest in knowing about the life of a deportee, I would ask – What are the aspirations of a person that has rebuilt her life after all this time? What are the lessons learned of this journey she has taken? What’s next for her? I certainly wished I knew the answers to all these questions; perhaps with intentional introspection and more writing, I might arrive at these answers with newfound joy and inspiration.
This past September 1, 2019 marked the end of my 10-year US-reentry ban (Just look at that counter to the right). And although I still have many other hurdles to overcome to be able to legally return to the US (including permission to reapply for admission in addition to the normal visa), there will come a point where I will engage in that process. It is just crazy to think that 10 years later, legal migration has not been facilitated and yet, we are asked to try our best against all odds. This is the reason why I consciously made a decision to wait until I was ready to deal with this. I don’t want to be emotionally nor financially drained because of it and I am in no rush to return. It will happen in due time.
10 years after deportation does feel like a new phase in my life, which entails giving closure to this current one. The healing process I have engaged in the past months (including therapy) has allowed to give myself permission (the good kind) to let go of things that have been grounded in my deportation trauma. This blog is one of them. I will miss it, and the identity I had created around it. Mundo (World) Citizen is an uplifting concept and when I initially picked it as a name for this blog was because I knew it could transcend a story of deportation. And it a way it will. Although this blog ends, I will continue to find platforms for expression through writing, I just do not want it to be on a platform where my voice is not given its due credit. My not-so-great experiences with other activists, civil society organizations, and academics (both in Mexico and the U.S.) where my story and content get used without proper acknowledgment (or permission) have made me wiser in searching for other ways to create and contribute to dialogue without feeling used, exploited or becoming a subject to the extractivism of lazy & opportunist people and institutions who can’t do their own work to contribute to the migrant rights conversation (it’s time to do it on my terms).
Do you need a migrant story/expert POV for your scholarly article? Invite me to collaborate, don’t just ask me for an interview, focus group or to give you access to other deportees (do your own fieldwork as I do my own!). Do you need a testimonio for your next journalistic piece? Tell me how your article is going to tell migrant stories in a dignified way rather than just being a vehicle to your next story deadline. Also, don’t ask me to retell my deportation story I have told too many times because I’m done with that (hint: this is what closure looks like). And I am likely to decline to participate in documentaries or other migration projects where I don’t have a say in its direction or it is not done collaboratively (I also mean compensation).
I’m done being a passive subject and being used by others to give your work credibility when it lacks substance and rigor. I rather create my own content and even if it doesn’t have the same resources and reach as other platforms, at least I can be assured that I take control of how my story and my work are shared. This is a reminder that my story is my own. Reclaiming it is part of what I will be prioritizing in my post-ban phase.
Even when I’m redefining how I would like my story to take shape in the public sphere, I also would like to acknowledge that others writing my story has served its purpose. But now it is time I write my own. When I first started blogging, I thought maybe it would lead me to write a published memoir. That hasn’t happened yet and it is an indication to start doing the necessary work to make that a reality. Blogging has been a good training ground, but I will need to be more diligent about developing this craft. It is certainly a personal project I will work on at some point. Also, in it’s due time. There is still a life to live that is worth writing about because I’m more than a deportee. I am a Citizen of the World still transcending boundaries with much more to say and experience.
For the time being, this blog will remain online, and hopefully, I can curate it to serve more as an archive and for followers and visitors to be able to find content I have previously published. I will also add links to other pages where people can stay posted on projects and research/advocacy work I’ll continue to be working on. It won’t be the last time you hear from me (**smiley wink**).
*My initial post mentioned that I had 5 years of blogging. I created this blog on October 8th, 2012, which means I have been at this for 7 years.
It has been a challenge to write these past couple of weeks. Sometimes I encounter the usual chaos, trying to do more things that I can handle (yeah, I am working to fix that). But there are also times I just feel too overwhelmed by the state of affairs to sit down and write. Where do I start? Especially when I am so invested in two countries that have problematic stances towards migrants. This is worse living in a border town; I often feel swallowed by the political and social turmoil going on “en ambos lados de la frontera” (on both sides of the border).
In the past couple of weeks we have seen a misguided public discourse on the Central American caravan which has been disheartening and painful to watch. It’s not only our political leaders, but people at large who have access to social media platforms to propel their ignorant opinions as “valid” arguments for closing borders and legalizing cruelty. I expect that from xenophobes but to see “people from the left”, “Catholics” and “progressives” reject the idea that we can create inclusive societies, especially for people who are in need of humanitarian assistance is an indication that we continue to lose our way in this post-truth era. Now, we have to worry about navigating conversations and digging through piles of rubbish to understand what is happening around us, especially when we live insulated by our privilege.
Today, as the news are covering the mid-term elections results, I am having a flashback. Exactly 10 years ago, I was just a few miles away from where I am sitting right now to writing this post. I was in downtown San Diego after a long day of GOTV efforts, hopeful for an Obama victory. As the night went on, we started to experience the excitement of what showed to be a historic win for Democrats, for those of us who pledged to progressive policies on many issues, including immigration. Little did I expect I would be deported under his presidency a year later. Yes! Let that sink in… particularly for those of you in Blue Wave or the so-called “Resistance.” Having a Democrat in office didn’t mean much for immigrant communities, and I am willing to bet this won’t change much even as you try to pin racism and xenophobia to the Trump administration. Right, he may be re-engineering aspects of immigration policy, but he is not completely wrong to say that he is just implementing policy as his predecessors have set forth. Racial profiling (remember the Patriot Act). Not New. Deterring immigration. Not new. Detaining children and family separation. Not new. Deporting hard working immigrants. Not New.
But it seems that some of you needed an openly racist presidency and the rise of the Alt Right to see what millions of us have already experienced. You cared little for the pain caused by racist immigration policies and practices that were operating behind the politically correct discourse. America is now turning fascist, but I hope that you take a moment to reflect on how the Dems have contributed to that. Perhaps because you have sold out on progressive values when you had the chance to change things while the right keeps embracing theirs and actually delivering on that when it was their turn. On immigration, you thought that if you deported people like myself and looked tough of immigration you would deliver a “comprehensive” immigration reform. The Republicans fooled you. They never cared for it. Unfortunately, Democratic party continues to fail immigrant communities and it will continue to do so until it actually reforms itself so that it takes real stances aligned with progressive values. There is no middle ground anymore. Doing the right thing was never something that should have been delayed until it was politically viable. If we have not learned that in the first two years of the Trump administration, then it is hard to stay hopeful. A win for Democrats has done little to advance immigrant social justice. Let’s not kid ourselves.