“You are getting this letter because you are resilient, you are powerful, and you have so much ahead of you. As of now, you will be journeying to a new part of life where not much seems steady.
You are also receiving this letter because there’s one large obstacle.
Well, there are many, but the one that we can both see is your immigration status.
You are undocumented.
It’s okay, I won’t tell anyone. Your secret (if you don’t want to disclose this information), your identity, is safe with me. You have probably told people that “you’re not from here,” and avoided questions of social securities and citizenship. Maybe you said you’re illegal. Which you are NOT.
Illegal is not and will never be a noun.
Maybe you told people you were born in whatever state you are living in. Maybe you feel shame. Maybe you don’t show your driver’s license because it says “privilege” or maybe you don’t have one at all. Maybe you applied for DACA, maybe you haven’t. Maybe DACA is something you once heard about but, never really looked into—or your parents were afraid for you to look into.
Maybe you live in fear of deportation or the fear of your family’s deportation.
There are probably parts of your life that you don’t talk about with your friends and maybe the past you left in your home country is much too painful.
Now more than ever maybe that fear has become something you can no longer keep in the back of your head. It’s in-your-face kind of fear that doesn’t ever let you breathe or get some clarity on issues.
Fear surrounds you, and that is completely valid.
President Donald Trump has only made these fears much more tangible because he can materialize the very promises that will tear families like yours and mine apart.
Your parents are probably the proudest parents anyone has ever seen. Your family? They probably mean the world to you and you would do anything for them, even if that meant giving up your dreams. Your parent’s sacrifice must have taught you that family and the people around you are important. However, no matter how proud you want to make them, you’re not exactly sure what comes after high school because of your status.
There are too many questions that surround you.
Is there an after? Should I even try in school? Is it worth it? Will my life have the same struggles as my parents? Should I be hopeful that immigration policies will change? Can I tell anyone about my status or about my fears? When asked about my status, how am I supposed to answer that exactly? When I talk to people who have never heard of undocumented folk, what do I say ?
Teachers, counselors, and administration, probably don’t know. They probably won’t ever know. And if they ever do, will they get it? How do you even bring it up?
Will they understand? Will they judge your family?
All these questions and more come with the uncertainty of your immigration status. All questions that I cannot answer fully for you. However, I can tell you that all your questions are important, and you are not alone.
You are from thousands of years of resilience. I will not tell you that the road you will travel is easy, I will not tell you that this is all fair.
I am undocumented. I am unafraid. I am unapologetic and unashamed. Say it loud, say it proud. Or whisper it to yourself when no one is around. You have nothing to apologize for and you absolutely do not have to be ashamed.
Here are a couple of reminders for you.
- Your feelings, whether you are scared, angry, or worried are all completely valid.
- We are here, and deserve the same dignity and respect as everyone else regardless of citizenship status.
- You have the right to go to school, if that is what you want to do.
- While it may not be easy, you can do it.
- There is help available, both online and around the States. You might have to get creative but, you deserve a fighting chance too.
Check out this quick link:My (Un)Documented Life
Take time for yourself. Remember you are worthy of dignity and respect. And lastly, you are not alone.
— in solidarity,
Ciriac Isbeth, porque yo tambien soy sin papeles y sin miedo.
[because i too am without papers and without fear]“