Adventures of a Forced Migrant Contact Me
“Get in line!” I am told. This is quite ironic since “getting in line” is precisely what made me an “illegal alien.” I was brought here legally on an F-2 student visa from Fiji when I was 14 and was legally here until I graduated from high school and wanted to attend college. At 17, my parents helped me apply for an F-1 student visa so I could continue my studies, but unfortunately, in the aftermath of September 11, my student visa extension was rejected.
Why? My parents had filed for permanent residency (I-130) prior to this through my grandmother, who is U.S. citizen, so the immigration service would not grant me a non-immigrant visa to study in the United States. As a teenager, I knew nothing about immigration laws and was at the mercy of my parents.
Read the rest of the entry here
Serving at Promigrant.org is not the only thing I do for immigration rights but they cannot possibly publish my whole CV. We discussed and decided to leave out all the work I do for the DREAM Act. I think journalists really like to use my story because it really explicates the flaws in the U.S. immigration system (how trying to do everything legally can still screw you over), not to mention the discrimination that exists against the LGBT community, which is precisely why I am in limbo. I had to fight to put the line about my sexuality back into the story even with length issues. That was my activity on the Day of Silence–to not silence part of my identity.
What I really missed in these pieces was a ‘Latino’ voice. I know we keep saying that immigration is not just about ‘Mexico’ but at least 41% of undocumented students are from Mexico and that fact cannot be ignored. Instead of being ashamed of it or shying away from it and the socio-economic struggles that the particular identity brings, we must embrace it and tackle the hate head-on.
Being a ‘model minority’ face of DREAM gets tiring.
“You are an AAPI. But you are not a model minority. You talk back. And, you are queer.”
And I am also a womyn, which matters a whole lot.
Lets set aside those dry, boring intellectual blog posts for a moment.
How do you get someone to ‘obey’ norms when she has never been considered a part of what is normative? Why would a person believe in institutionalized structures and settings when they hold her down? Why is it alright for a man to hog discussion but inappropriate for a woman to be strong in her convictions? There isn’t a space for these discussions in this so-called movement for ‘immigration reform,’ which looks increasingly like ‘pro-enforcement reform.’ This is my space, hence these statements.
I want to apologize to my readers for being literally absent for the past two months. In December, I unexpectedly got invited to a ‘United We DREAM’ conference (a coalition that has been trying to pass the DREAM Act for 100 years now), and decided to go since the National Immigration Law Center paid for the trip. Looking back on it, maybe that was not the best decision but at least I got to meet friends that I had not seen in person. At the meeting–quite unexpectedly–some members of the coalition railed to make my tiny circle of friends as one of the central communications pillars. I was left wondering why they would want an open-borders, cerebral Marxist-Foucauldian, radical queer womyn of color to have anything to do with building a ‘talking points’ sheet. The only explanation was that they were trying to quell dissent and get immigrant youth like me to conform to a certain way of doing things, a certain structure to abide to. Yes, I know – warning bells!