Why I’ve been away

My life has been a constant hassle for the past six months. From relocating to establishing a business venture, it has certainly been a time of much change and rearranging. But I think part of me was using that as an excuse to take some time away from blogging. The state of politics in both Mexico and the US has been chaotic (perhaps writing about it could have helped me a bit more) but the blogging hiatus was more about an internal and personal process. I could not quite put my finger on it until I Tweeted the following to my friend Azul with whom I have kept the daily #postdeportation countdown as we were approaching 2018:

 

Most aspects of my life, including personal, work, advocacy and my writing have been shaped and influenced by my deportation experience. Even this blog, it started because of a story I wanted to tell and the opinions I thought needed to be shared from a perspective of someone like me. At the same time, the realist part of me has come to feel that it has all reached an expiration date. Anything that could have been accomplished by sharing my story has already happened and what has not (i.e. social justice or some sort of reparations) will never happen.

Although I plan to complete the postdeportation countdown until it reaches zero, I know that my life is not going to change drastically as it did when I was first expelled from the US. As I try to explain to most people that have followed me over the years with this blog and my social media conversations, ending a 10 year US re-entry ban will not magically give me the life I had before deportation. That is because that life no longer exist. I don’t even know if visiting the US will be an option, or whether I want to do that under this administration, especially because I’m likely to lack the qualifications necessary to prove to the US government that I don’t intend to overstay a tourist visa. The cards against me are my Mexican nationality and my undocumented past which always be a burden too difficult to overcome. I hope that my good track history with countries that have actually given me visas (UK, Canada, Germany) plays in my favor, but then again, we are talking about an irrational administration when it comes to migration. I still plan to at least try just for the sake of documenting the whole process, but I need to be willing to waste an application fee ($160 USD) for a minute-long interview that will probably result in a denied visa request. But, I’ll cross that bridge when the time comes.

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Walking along the Mex-US border (Playas de Tijuana)

This leaves me confronting the life I have tried to reconstruct in the last 8 years, somehow incomplete, at times wanting for it to be different and feeling  frustrated from trying to fit misplaced pieces that will no longer be in their place; feeling despair because my sense of home was taken away and I can’t seem to recreate it. However, these are the things that I want to change, leave behind, or have some sense of closure. My realization is that I can only begin to do that to the extent that I am able to disengage from the post-deportation conversation; a seemingly impossible task as I have constant reminders that it’s very much present in my daily life, but perhaps I can find a way that it no longer takes center stage. Also, I don’t want this blog to be a recycling bin of grievances of the US and Mexican government or immigrant advocacy efforts that fail at inclusion. It has plenty of that already and I don’t see how any of it will drastically shift in a positive direction anytime soon.

I’m still sorting this out, but now I am ready to explore and I hope this blog follows me in that process. I am sure it will still be political, that it will continue to take a critical look at social issues (definitely migration as a research area I have undertaken). But I also want it to tackle the life’s nuances as I navigate it, reconnecting a past that illuminates the way I see the present in situations that are never dull for a citizen of the world like myself who constantly challenges labels and categories of nationality, identity, and belonging.

Thank you to all my followers and everyone who continues to support, encourage and inspire my writing.

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Deportee launching Kickstarter Campaign for documentary project “Aquí Estamos! Ya Regresamos!”

I take this opportunity to share a crowdfunding campaign spearheaded by Lalo Aguilar, a US deportee born in Juárez, raised in Utah and currently residing in Mexico. He is working on a documentary (now in pre-production) on the post-deportation and post-return experiences of Mexican undocumented immigrants raised in the U.S.

I only know Lalo from our virtual calls after connecting through social media (we are yet in meet in person), but I can tell Lalo is looking to continue to pursue his life goals despite deportation. This documentary is one of them.

In the past couple of years, there has been emerging coverage generated by various journalists, researchers and film producers on the subject; however, this is the first documentary project I have seen to be designed, developed and produced from a deportee’s perspective. It is one that highlights the fact that deportations have happened in mass prior to the Trump administration but have been invisible on both sides of the US-Mexico border. This project delves into an important inquiry:

There’s no doubting that the post-deportation topic has been on the spotlight in Mexico since Trump began his campaign by targeting Mexicans. But why did it take so long for Mexico to look into the returned migration phenomenon? Why weren’t the repatriated voices being heard until now?

I hope you take a look and support by donating and/or sharing.

From Lalo’s own words, I share his Facebook post (with his permission, posted on July 18, 2017) announcing the documentary project:

Hello Facebook friends, here in Mexico and back home! This is my first post in over 5 years, since I got deported; and it seems like it’s merely to ask you for money.. lol. No but really, I’ve enrolled in Film school in Puebla and I’ve started working on a feature documentary that is growing way too fast for my limited resources, so I launched a Kickstarter campaign. This film focuses on the returned bicultural identity; us that were born in Mexico and raised in the States but are now back in Mexico either because of deportation or “voluntary” return (that is almost always not so voluntary). It also focuses on the structural and cultural changes that are happening in Mexico because of our return.

I have friends from different cultural, economic, and social backgrounds here on FB; so if you are a part of this bicultural Mexican community whether now in Mexico or in the States and you know what’s happening to our community on either side of the border, please check our Kickstarter page. Please share it or donate IF you can. If you are a Trump supporter who doesn’t know or care about what’s happening to our community, it’s cool too, no hard feelings; do what you will with this info. Much love to ALL of you!

As you can see on my page, I’m not much about posting stuff on FB, but I strongly believe in this project and so do the BADASS people that are helping me accomplish it; so y’all be hearing some more from me now. I’m sorry if this causes anyone any inconveniences. Much love! Peace!

Ya Regresamos Kickstarter

For more on the Kickstarter campaign, visit:  Aquí Estamos! Ya Regresamos! (be sure to check-out the campaign video!)

Lalo will receive the funds raised only if he meets the crowdfunding goal (that is how Kickstarter works). To-date, he has raised 10% of the total funds needed. With your help, he will be closer to have the resources he needs to bring this documentary to life. The Kickstarter campaign closes August 22, 2017.

You can connect with Lalo via Twitter.

It’s been five years since…

Desplazar hacia abajo para español

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.

 

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The closed door. Border Wall, Tijuana/San Diego (2017)

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.

Link to letter: Dear Mr. President

Continue reading “It’s been five years since…”