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.

Cosecha-MC
“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.

Carlos

Advertisements

Leaving the “Dreamer” politics behind

A friend once asked me, “When will you stop being a deportee?”

Although I can’t recall what I answered, I still remember this question because it struck me as an odd one. Being a deportee is not a state of being or as fluid as my emotions. It is more like a permanent label that I have slip into as a result of political and legal systems. It is a fact that I was detained and expelled from a country and that will never be erased from my past; but I hope my deportee status earns me some karmic brownie points with the birth lottery system in my next life. But I digressed, going back to the question… If my existence in Mexico and my work around activism, migrant rights, and my current career path as a migration scholar were all propelled by a label that has become a part of my identity – can I live without it? Has my quest to dignify this stigmatized label constrained my existence post-deportation?

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
© Mundo Citizen

 

To complicate matters, I have attached another identifier to this label by calling myself a “deported Dreamer” as a way of acknowledging my own experience as an undocumented immigrant in the U.S. and connecting it to my struggles here. It was also a strategic choice for me as I wanted to convey the message that I was still part of political movement in the U.S. propelled by (what I call) the “millennial Dreamers”. I mean, we are of the same kind. I have much in common with them, we all arrived as a children in the U.S. and growing up in the country that would later become home as undocumented immigrants. The main difference was that I was part of a generation who lived mostly in the shadows. We were also not as organized as the millennial Dreamers are today, and of course since 2009, I’m no longer in the U.S.

Being a Dreamer on the south side of the border (I thought) was part of extending the immigrant right’s struggle to Mexico, because being a returned migrant in Mexico is no walk in the park, as I have tried to illustrate in most of what I written here since I started blogging in 2012. My new found purpose was wrapped around a fight for recognition in a country that won’t have us back, that doesn’t want us back. Four years later, I find myself at a crossroads and I have made a decision others in U.S. Dreamer movement have made – to drop the label. I am no longer a Dreamer.

Continue reading “Leaving the “Dreamer” politics behind”

Writing because no one in the “movement” listens

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.

Azul
Azul on #TogetherWithoutBorders campaign**

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.