hands outA True Life Story

I know what it’s like to want to do the right thing, but you can’t.  When you’re hanging onto faith like a life jacket and it’s a battle to not sink into depression and hopelessness.

It’s easy for people who are not affected by this tough Immigration issue to judge cruelly.  The same questions arise from the accusers: why don’t you just go back?  Why do you continue to break the law?

The frustrations are overwhelming.  I want to do the right thing.  But like millions of others I’m continuously asking: how?  The accusers will say that we’re a drain on the economy.  The accusers will say that we’re criminals.  Both are untrue but the accusations still stab my heart.

It’s only when these pointing fingers come face to face with a real person that maybe they begin to understand.  And best case maybe their hearts will break when they truly understand the suffering.

It’s not about a law.  It’s about a person.  Flesh and a beating heart.  It’s about a human being with dreams, desires to give back and longings to be reunited with family.

My heart is filled with pain when I think about my 15 month old nephew…who I’ve never met.  I was forced to stop taking Amtrak because Immigration raids began that year and the agents were on board ready to toss out any undocumented person.  Is it fair?  Yes, legally it honestly is.  Is it inhumane, unkind?  Yes.

Do I dare travel by plane?  No.  So as of right now while the Immigration Reform battle continues, I have only ever met my niece.  I met her when she was only two, and now I can’t help tearing up knowing she’s a little lady of five years.

Three years have gone by without me being able to see her.  Three years of not being able to touch her hair, play and giggle with her.  And my heart breaks when I see pictures of her and me together knowing that I can’t physically be with her.

When I think about my father being overseas a lump rises up in my throat and it’s impossible not to cry.  Six years.  Six excruciatingly long years since I’ve been able to see him.  He is still in the country that I left years ago to pursue a better life for myself.  We talk on the phone but there is no substitute for having the person right in front of you, to see their smile and to feel their love.

One of the darkest moments in my life came when I confessed my undocumented status to an American woman.  She was a Christian, someone who I thought I could confide in and trust.  Her response?  Disgust.  That was her response.  When I needed a compassionate friend, this woman had only this to say: “Oh, so you’re an illegal alien?  You’re like those Mexicans that jump over the border.”

Wow.  Two punches in a row.  Illegal alien.  Does any citizen of this great country not realize the emotional and psychological damage that is done by these horrible, demoralizing words?  Illegal?  Alien?  Am I an unidentified flying object?  A citizen of another planet?

But that’s the reality of how many undocumented immigrants have been made to feel like: unwelcomed guests from another weird world.

I do not seek a hand out.  I don’t want money thrown at me for nothing.  I just want to live in the same country as my sibling, niece and nephew.  I just want a good life.

I just want FREEDOM and dignity.

I just want to come out of the shadows… and every Father’s Day is just another reminder to me that this Immigration system needs to be fixed…and quickly.

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