A friend’s reflection On DAPA: “Pain in our hearts”

I post an email my friend Carlos sent (and requested we share) on the day the U.S. Supreme Court decided to defer justice for over 4 million undocumented immigrants.

I sometimes wish I could just look away from struggle I see north of the border, in the same way our pain post-deportation has been ignored by the movement en el otro lado, on the other side. Not because I lack empathy, but because I feel I should be focusing on addressing a situation in Mexico that is worsening as consequence of a crisis trifecta: (1) failed US immigration and deportation policies, (2) a failed US immigrant movement, and (3) a failed Mexican state. But then, I remind myself that when there is no justice for one person it means there is no justice for all.

Furthermore, our struggles are so intrinsically connected that this situation is a painful reminder for immigrant advocates to look beyond their U.S. bubble, and I was quick to remind them of that in a recent Facebook post:


The bottom line: A paradigm shift is required when facing a collective crisis. Carlos, who is a long time immigrant justice organizer, invites you to consider an alternative to harvest, Cosecha(r), a movement. Political negotiation is no longer a viable strategy. It is time to shake the status quo.

“When our political power is not enough, we have to use our economic and labor power” Credit: Movimiento Cosecha – Harvest Movement


I am hopeful that this can pave the way for a collective justice fight that can unite our parallel struggles across borders.


Hello Friends,

As many of you know today is a day of anger and rage for the undocumented community. The supreme court pretty much stalled our possibilities of legalizing temporarily over 4 million people. Out of those 4 million people, 2 of them were my aunt and uncle that were the first people in my family to come to the US over 20 years ago, they are still undocumented and they would have qualified though my 18 year old us born cousin.

I juts want to share that I’m tired of having dinner with them and telling them that they have to wait longer, that this is another failure for our movement. No more, no más. That is why we are working to really change the political weather for my people in this country and I need your help.

You know what I’m doing, Cosecha, people on the street love hearing about the boycott, the strike, permanent protection for their families and the ability to have dignity and respect through struggle.

Please support us by signing up to our list serve, we are going to be taking a summer of actions(and you have to be engage!) and donate to support a movement not owned by the democratic party but by the people.

But mostly please take tonight to think about those families, have them on your heart with us, pray for them and wish the movement luck, we certainly need it.



FWD.us: You don’t need hypothetical deportees when there are over 2 million real ones

Do I really exist?

This happens to be the existential question I ask about myself when I read about the type of U.S. campaigns launched in favor of immigration reform, because they completely disregard my existence.

As I was weaving through the headlines in Mexican and U.S. publications of what appeared to be a Pope Francis vs Trump fight over the pope’s comment of the unchristian-like campaign of the leading Republican candidate, I stumbled upon the following NBCNews article that began its headline with ‘You Deported Me’. I immediately thought, “wow, FINALLY!” we start hearing about the stories of deportation in the immigration debate in mainstream media, and coming directly from deportees.

But my excitement was short lived when I read the rest of the headline “… Campaign Highlights Undocumented Asians” which reinforced what I know about the immigration advocacy efforts in the U.S. We don’t exist for them – but this is a new low. Now they resort to talking about hypothetical deportees because they lack perspectives of real ones.



To give them some credit, as you read the rest of the article and learn about the FWD.us pro-immigration campaign, you understand that the underlying message is about what it means for undocumented immigrants to live under fear of the threat of deportation. Yes, it is a real one and I definitely understand it, I lived under that fear for 20 years.

However, there is an astronomical difference between living under the fear of deportation and actually going through one. To speak of these two as if they were the same and at the same time fail to include the voices of the deported, it shows a disregard for the over 2 million people and their families that have been affected by the deportation policies under the Obama administration.

Please stop talking about hypothetical deportees and get closer to real life deportees.

The State of Immigration Reform: A shift away from empty promises?

Featured Commentary in La Prensa San Diego

By Nancy Landa

President Obama is right about one thing. As he said in his State of the Union address, “…the time has come to pass comprehensive immigration reform.” A sense of urgency was palpable in his request to Congress to send him an immigration bill in the next coming months as he committed to sign it into law immediately.

Without fail, border security was at the forefront; not only did President Obama embraced it as continued immigration policy, but also referenced it as a success of his administration with illegal crossings reaching their lowest levels in 40 years. It was probably safer for him to focus on such statistic rather than the other historic record he has set and for which he has received criticism by immigration advocates: the number of deportations under his first term, currently at 1.4 million.

It is promising to hear President Obama continues to stand firm on keeping a pathway to citizenship as part of the comprehensive immigration reform package. We are yet to see if Democrats will effectively persuade Republicans to warm-up to the idea of including a pathway to citizenship in an immigration plan, a potential contention point in upcoming rounds of negotiations. On the other hand, President Obama repeated much of the Republican rhetoric when he discussed the laundry list of requirements to “earn” this proposed pathway to citizenship: Get background checks, pay taxes and a significant penalty, as well as learn English.

As a former undocumented immigrant that faced the legal technicalities which prevented me to adjust my legal status in 20 years, I realized how complex and broken the immigration system really is. Often times I wonder if President Obama and the so-called bipartisan ‘Gang of Eight’ understand such complexity and if their proposals will actually reform a bureaucracy that is flawed in many ways. From visa processing wait times to detention and removal proceedings, the immigration system shows to lack the flexibility, humanity, and pragmatism that add to its dysfunction.

A two minute speech did not give enough room for elaboration aside from what we have already heard from President Obama on what he envisions in an immigration plan. The same can be said for the much anticipated official Republican response from Senator Marco Rubio. Although there are doubts if enough Republican support will be gathered to reach a deal on comprehensive immigration reform, there is no question they have been forced to be more receptive to work with Democrats toward a solution.

The devil is in the details, and particularly true as reform plans go through the deliberation process in both houses, which will give us a better indication if it will actually be “comprehensive”. But in contrast to four years ago, the immigrant community might actually see real change rather than empty promises. In the words of President Obama, “Let’s get it done. Let’s get it done.”

Nancy Landa is a deported honors graduate and former student President of California State University, Northridge (CSUN). Nancy resides in Tijuana since her deportation in 2009 and has shared her story to highlight the need for comprehensive immigration reform in the U.S. You can follow Nancy on Facebook, Twitter or her blog at mundocitizen.com