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I recently stumbled upon a series of articles by a UCLA reporter on undocumented students. Every other Wednesday, a student is profiled and shares different aspects of their lives with the reporter that is later published in The Daily Bruin.
Some of the articles can be accessed here, along with a video:
Deportation of father leaves son challenges
Struggling with noncitizen status
Living the green card dream
Student sees beyond immigration status
The stories reflect our DREAMs and aspirations, our hopes and fears, our daily struggles and small victories. And the more stories that can be documented, the closer we get to realizing that we are not alone, our limited mobility and flight is shared by many students across the United States, blurring racial and ethnic differences, gender and religious lines, and even political identity (yes, we even have some Republican DREAMers). The goal is to build a human portrait of us, one that has been rendered invisible and demonized by the discursive scar of 'illegal alien.'
For the next month, I am working on a conference paper to compile as many voices of DREAM as possible, and I hope to get it published eventually. The paper is set to basically explore the lives of a group of people who are effectively rendered "stateless" in the only place they know as "home," where we exist in 'stillness' — and how this particular group of people (DREAMers) negotiate with those conditions, how we adapt to them, and how we have built and are building a 'community' of sorts around it, one that has nothing to do with ethnicity or a common history, but our status as undocumented children. And really, how this poses a challenge to our understanding of 'nationalism' and what it really means to be American.
I would like to get as much participation as possible, so please forward this blog post to as many DREAMers as you know. The short questionnaire is on the next page. It can be filled out and emailed to me here.
DREAMers Questionnaire – Giving VOICE to our DREAMs Project
Do you identify as American?
If yes, describe your feelings about being ‘undocumented’ in your home country.
Why did your parents come to the United States? How old were you and how old are you now? Share as much of your background as you feel comfortable.
What is your country of birth and do you remember anything about it? How are conditions there? How would you feel about being sent back ?
How do you feel about their decision, given your present circumstance as an undocumented student?
What sacrifices have you made along the way and what opportunities have been lost to you?
What is the highest level of education you have achieved? Have you faced obstacles to achieving your educational aspirations?
Describe the daily obstacles you face in the United States.
How do you deal with being “American” and not having the rights granted to American citizens? Are there any activities you partake in or anything you have done (or not) because you are undocumented?
Do you self-identify as a DREAMer? How else do you identify in your daily life? (race/ethnicity/nationality/religion/gender/sexual orientation/student/…take your pick)
What are your greatest dreams and hopes?
What are your greatest fears?
Anything else you would like to share – a short story, experience, quote, poem etc. (that would evoke some emotion)?
This is for your privacy. If I quote you in an article or paper, what name should I use for you?