Saturday, December 12, 2009

Why I dream of change

I'm Puerto Rican, so I can't call myself an immigrant. But I have lived as an immigrant abroad, I have been the other , the outsider looking in, and know very well how hard it is, getting used to life in a place where everything is strange. Picture how many more magnitudes of difficulty are involved then when your hands are tied by a lack of papers.
I've had the pleasure and the privilege to meet and befriend people from many different countries and from all walks of life, and through their stories I was educated to the reality just how difficult it can be to immigrate to the US. I thought i had heard it all: the endless waiting, the requests for document after document, the ridiculously convoluted rules, the fees, the crooked lawyers that stiff you out of your savings and produce no results. Yet was has fired me up the most is the plight of the undocumented students brought here as children or infants. The fact that you could grow up, go to school and strive for excellence and to get to the top and then have your life come to a dead screeching halt seemed surreal. But its all too true for thousands of youths across the land. Motto schooled me in his reality, and introduced me to many other students, who like himself, are high achieving, hard working, and have defied huge odds to become budding community leaders. It is that drive, that spirit to not only improve their personal situation but to change things for the better, ensuring that no one has to run the rat maze of obstacles with which they have been forced to deal that inspired me to become actively involved in the push for immigration reform. I refuse to stand by and do nothing while the gifts and talents of people who have enriched their communities and schools, who have shown so much promise, go to waste. I can't stand the racists and bald opportunists who rant about "criminal"and "illegal" when the topic of immigration is discussed and whose only solution is "deport them all!". They have absolutely no clue about the sacrifices, fear, worries, and hardships that have been surmounted by Dreamers and their families. I don't want to see one more family torn apart, or see any more Dreamers placed under the threat of what amount to exile.
This process has not been without personal cost. My family disdains politics, looks askance at my activism, and is pessimistic about the effects of our campaigns, they are offended by the buttons and the t-shirts; they've gone as far as to try and curtail the extent of my involvement. It is hard going when your allegiances are questioned. But I take my inspiration from each victory, whether large or small, and from the amazing tireless pro migrant community. And most of all, from all the Dreamers. They keep me going.
And this keeps me going too.

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