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

There’s no place like home – Los Angeles.

A true Los Angeles native knows that life without a car is no life at all. This L.A. transplant of 20 years whose coming of age happened in the great City of Angels couldn’t agree more. She would also learn that life without Los Angeles is hard to imagine.

To love L.A. is to drive it. Even when you can’t get a license, an undocumented Angelino/a finds a way. We were certainly forced to find one after 1994 when licenses stopped being issued for folks without papers (although that has recently changed with legislation granting California Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Residents).

Oh, yes! I remember the first car I drove. This car was what we call a carcacha, it definitely looked like a clunker; but on my last year of college it spared me the agony of the daily commute from my home in South Central L.A. to the San Fernando Valley, and back. On a good day I would spent four hours hopping on three buses and a metro. With that kind of commute I was certainly no friend of the Los Angeles public transportation system, but I was determined to get a college education and 30 miles were not going to get in my way. No way! Besides, the long rides gave me time to do my homework or take a nap, my antidote to a normalized sleep deprived life style.

When my dad had enough savings to buy me a car, it didn’t matter it was a vehicle that looked as it was ready to head to the car graveyard. In its past life, it had survived an accident that left a dent on the door on the driver’s side, but any repairs done to it didn’t remove the evidence that it was a survivor, like me. It had a missing window that was usurped by a type of plastic that was good enough to look like a glass window, but it distorted the driver’s view, giving it a blurred vision effect that made driving it either bit interesting or hazardous, depending on the type of driver you are. As long as I never had to take it any place where valet parking was required, I was good to go!

This minivan made me fall in love with Los Angeles, its multiculturalism, diversity, gentrification and segregation, all for the price of one. It took me everywhere I needed to go and become the car that made me a happy and fearless driver on the 101/405 FWYs. In my post-college years, so much of my life was dependent on my car. Going to work meetings, road trip to Las Vegas with my family to spend the holidays, rushing to meet my friends for happy hour, even grocery shopping.

LA-Street-MC

 

After graduation, I upgraded by purchasing my first car, a red Camry Toyota that allowed me to continue my driving relationship with LA. This one survived a Freeway accident and an immigration persecution. Yeah, the one where I was stopped on my way to work. I’m sure my car will never forgive the officers for forcing me to leave it stranded in the middle of the street to be towed away. The bloody bastards!

Continue reading “There’s no place like home – Los Angeles.”

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.

FW-campaignYou-deported-me

 

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.