In order to clear up my mind i have decided to compile a list of the frustrations i run into on a semi daily basis.
These are specific to growing up undocumented.
It helps to get them out of my head. Here i can see them and figure out how to get around them, instead of having them come out in tears or bursts of misplaced anger.
I am tired of feeling trapped in this country. Though i love the people in the US i have an urge to travel and know things beyond these borders. So many things to see, to eat, people to meet and laugh with. But i hold back, knowing quite well that leaving might mean not being able to come back, and everything i know is here- my family, my friends, my community- so i stay. I stay and i die a little bit, held by the very bonds that have helped me to become who i am.
I can’t take my friends hitchhiking with me. I know they want to travel, but without licenses, social security numbers, or state ids the risk of ending up in a jail goes up, as does the risk of being asked where you are from and inadvertently giving our statuses away, leading to a deportation.
Having limitations placed on me based on where i was born.
Placing limitations on myself based on those of society.
Feeling unwanted in the country. A feeling reinforced by the increased raids and deportations, and by the outright lies about immigrants and immigration that i run into in the media and ordinary people (who probably get them from the media). It provokes a “So you think you don’t need us? Fine, wait till we get tired of your exploitation and insults, you’ll pay the price like Riverside, new jersey.” For those who don’t remember this (or never heard of it), check out this article: Town rethinks laws against [undocumented] immigrants.
I am angry; so angry that sometimes all i remember are these frustrations. I have to make list to remember all the positive things about being here.
Not being able to get arrested in acts of civil disobedience. There are plenty of things i think need change, but the risk is too high when you are not a citizen.
Getting a trespassing ticket for sleeping in a park and feeling like my life was over because i could get deported. It made me rethink traveling, and i never want to question that decision.
Crying over the phone outside a public library to over 10 lawyers asking for advice on how to handle the ticket. The majority did not know, once they could understand me through my sobs, or did not have free consults over the phone.
Feeling forced to pay a lawyer to fix the situation with the ticket. The court was in new york. I was no longer there. I had heard stories of people going in for traffic violations and ending up on ICE’s custody somehow. I didn’t want a warrant in NY.
Seeing my other two friends with tickets just ignore them, since the ticket would probably get thrown out and the only consequence for them would be to spend some time in jail.
I can’t go to Canada and come back.
I can’t go to Mexico and see the rest of my family, and then come back.
I am afraid to go to Mexico and confirm that i do not know anyone there any more. That all my relatives are stories and pictures from a past i don’t really remember, and the people that now hold their identity are complete strangers to me.
I am angry at my citizen friends for not taking advantages of their privileges to help out those of us who do not have them.
I am angry at my citizen friends for having these privileges.
I am angry at being angry at my friends. I love them and all i can do is repeat to myself “This is just misplaced anger, this is just misplaced anger, this is just misplaced anger, this is just misplaced anger… ”
Being affected so much by a state that is so out of my control. I did not choose to be undocumented, and anywhere else i would not be. I have no idea what will happen when we get legalization, what does citizenship feel like?
Seeing my friends sad and tired of the way society treats undocumented people. (positive note: we’re fighting back)
Seeing my community in fear of enforcement tactics by ICE
Seeing our efforts and contributions dismissed by some as if we were not an integral part of society and important parts of our communities.
There are so many, many more…. now to solve them.
What are some of your frustrations? And what are your ideas about how to solve them?