I’m a perpetual migrant
a forever foreigner
I run
from connections
I run
from feelings
I run from anything
that gives life meaning.

I’m a perpetual migrant
a forever foreigner
We make America great
And in return for our greatness
We get so much hate.

I’m a perpetual migrant
a forever foreigner
They told me migration was beautiful
Then why is it so painful?

I’m a perpetual migrant
a forever foreigner
With undocumented feelings
Easier to leave and dream
than to stay and remain bleeding

I’m a perpetual migrant
a forever foreigner
I run and
stay running.

#FreeLuis: What You Can Do To Bring Berkeley Student Home

Update: Since ICE has refused to release Mr. Mora on his own recognizance or under an order of supervision, we’ve requested a bond hearing for Mr. Mora. It will be on January 17th, 2018. This means he will likely miss the first few days of classes at UC Berkeley, and have been detained for merely overstaying a visa for over 2 weeks. 

On December 30th, Luis Mora, a junior at UC Berkeley, was apprehended by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at a checkpoint in Jamul, near San Diego. Almost immediately, through Luis Mora’s partner, the Berkeley undocumented student group, RISE, got in touch with me and informed me as to what had happened. They started organizing as I tried to figure out where Luis was detained. I finally got a hold of him on Monday evening. He was detained in deplorable conditions for over four days at Barracks 5, which is supposed to only be used as a temporary holding facility. I contacted Barracks 5 for visitation rights with the help of another attorney more familiar with the area, and they told me that I could see him only between 12pm and 2pm on Thursday. They did not even allow him a pencil to write down my phone number.

As I traveled down to San Diego to see finally him on Wednesday evening, Luis was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at Otay Mesa Detention Center, a facility that has been sued for human trafficking. I finally got to see him on Thursday morning. I sought the help of his Senators and Congressional representatives, and requested that ICE release him on an order of supervision or an order of recognizance so that Luis can come back to UC Berkeley in time to resume the Spring semester of classes. Thus far, ICE has refused to accept this reasonable offer despite Congressional and mounting public pressure. They have kicked the can to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), and want us to fight for bond in front of an Immigration Judge. Alas, they have not filed his case with the court yet so Luis is languishing in detention without due process.

I have never had to conduct a bond hearing for a mere visa overstay; for those who do not understand how egregious this situation is, it is akin to asking for a bond hearing for someone jailed over a speeding ticket. And Luis does not even have a speeding ticket.

At this point, we are preparing for a bond hearing and to represent Luis Mora in removal proceedings before the EOIR. We are also working on long-term immigration relief for Luis. We are overwhelmed by the media attention as well as the community support behind Luis. Here is what you can do to assist us in bringing him home:

  • Write letters of support on behalf of Luis to the Immigration Judge to set bond. We would love to have letters from Congresspersons, state and local officials, national organizations, friends and family. Directives as to how to do this are posted here, along with information on where to mail the letters.


  • Donate to his bond fund: Once the Immigration Judge sets bond, we can post the bond, and have Luis home in no time. Once Luis gets lawful residence status, we will get this money back, with interest, and the funds will go towards helping other undocumented students who are similarly detained.


  • Write to Luis while he is sitting in a jail cell: For those interested in writing to Luis Mora, you can send letters via U.S. mail to:



Otay Mesa Detention Center

P.O Box 439049

San Diego, CA 92143

  • Put money in Luis Mora’s detainee account: The Otay Mesa Detention Facility was recently sued for human trafficking because the private facility coerces jailed immigrants to work at $1.00/hr and sometimes without pay for basic necessities. Please continue to put money into Luis Mora’s detainee account so that he can make regular calls to his legal counsel and he is not forced to work or trafficked in this private facility.For those interested in doing so, using Western Union transfer services, you’ll need the following:

First Name:  Luis Last Name:  Mora

Facility:  Corrections Corp of America

Inmate #: 5400517

Receiver Information


Code City/State: XOTAYM IA

  • Leave Luis messages: Call 888-516-0115. You’d first need to deposit money into your friends and family account. Then go back to main menu and leave a voicemail for him. Voicemails cost $1.17 plus tax/fees to leave. He can call you back from the center from his detainee account.


  • Tweet your support for Luis Mora: The graphic above contains a list of demands to continue to pressure our elected representatives–and UC Berkeley–accountable to our community.

Thank you so much for all your love and support. I am confident that we will bring Luis home. He may miss a few weeks of the Spring semester, but we are working hard to ensure that he will still graduate in Spring 2019 with a Political Science degree in one hand and a green card in the another. You can count on me for that.

If you have something to spare after doing all the actions for Luis Mora above and if you appreciate my work, please consider donating to my tip jar. I’ve been doing this work pro-bono for a long time, and I don’t get paid much relative to Bay Area housing costs and supporting my own family. I need help taking care of myself too so I can take care of Luis Mora and other students like him. I would also appreciate it if friends could bring me food or kombucha while I’m burning the midnight oil. Every little bit counts.  

Is It Okay To Be White?

White nationalists have been vandalizing college campuses across the country, plastering ugly white flyers with basic fonts stating that “It is okay to be white.”

Yes, sometimes change begins with accepting yourselves. You should do what you need to do for that acceptance.

Instead of doing extra work to take down these wasteful flyers, maybe we should just add our own perspectives, as we have done above.

It’s okay to be white; better to be brown; and excellent to be black.

A very happy holidays to everyone, whatever your color or creed!

Do You Need A Passport to Fly In The New Year?

This is the numero uno question that I get from clients and random people across the country.

TSA signaled earlier this earlier that it would stop taking driver’s licenses and ID documents from several states. This commotion is mainly due to the REAL ID Act, which was passed by Congress in 2005, and prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses and identification cards for official purposes from states that do not meet heightened security standards. 

The TSA announced earlier this year that starting January 22, 2018, residents from Kentucky, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Maine, Montana, South Carolina, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Washington state would need another government-issued ID, such as a passport, to fly. However, the hard deadline has been rolled back to October 1, 2020 for the non-compliant states.

The good news is that if you have an ID from a non-compliant state, TSA will continue to accept it to board a domestic flight and to enter certain federal facilities until October 1, 2020. After that date, a REAL ID or other federally accepted ID will be required. California residents can obtain a REAL ID license at the DMV starting January 22, 2018. Further instructions for that are available here

DACA Repeal

Hello friends,

I haven’t blogged in a while. The Trump Administration is keeping me busy. Sometimes I wonder why I chose this life, and then I have to remind myself that sometimes we don’t choose our destiny. Sometimes, we just have to figure out that we are where we are because it was meant to be.

I’ve put out some (hopefully) helpful FAQs with regards to the DACA repeal. Please share them widely.

For those who are in a position to give, I am also fundraising to help pay for the DACA renewal fees of community members who cannot come up with $495 at the drop of a hat, to file their renewals.

Donations are tax-deductible! Under “I want my donation to be dedicated” please put “DACA” or “Immigration”

If you’re the media, or have questions about other immigration matters, I may not get back to you for several weeks. Additionally, I will be out of the country between September 23 and October 15th. I appreciate your patience during these trying times.