My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant

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My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant

Post  Sirop14 on Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:43 am

Happy Sunday, we addressed certain issues about Kilburn - Brent, Mortlake etc and Kent yesterday - the important Philippines friendship in Kilburn, the Nurse Association and the Church - our contribution that Philippines went to work in Sechelles Seychelles - how we work and this morning in the news

One August morning nearly two decades ago, my mother woke me and put me in a cab. She handed me a jacket. “Baka malamig doon” were among the few words she said. (“It might be cold there.”) When I arrived at the Philippines’ Ninoy Aquino International Airport with her, my aunt and a family friend, I was introduced to a man I’d never seen. They told me he was my uncle. He held my hand as I boarded an airplane for the first time. It was 1993, and I was 12.

Staying Papers The documentation that Vargas obtained over the years — a fake green card, a fake passport, a driver’s license — allowed him to remain in the U.S. In Oregon, a friend provided a mailing address.

My mother wanted to give me a better life, so she sent me thousands of miles away to live with her parents in America — my grandfather (Lolo in Tagalog) and grandmother (Lola). After I arrived in Mountain View, Calif., in the San Francisco Bay Area, I entered sixth grade and quickly grew to love my new home, family and culture. I discovered a passion for language, though it was hard to learn the difference between formal English and American slang. One of my early memories is of a freckled kid in middle school asking me, “What’s up?” I replied, “The sky,” and he and a couple of other kids laughed. I won the eighth-grade spelling bee by memorizing words I couldn’t properly pronounce. (The winning word was “indefatigable.”)

One day when I was 16, I rode my bike to the nearby D.M.V. office to get my driver’s permit. Some of my friends already had their licenses, so I figured it was time. But when I handed the clerk my green card as proof of U.S. residency, she flipped it around, examining it. “This is fake,” she whispered. “Don’t come back here again.”

Confused and scared, I pedaled home and confronted Lolo. I remember him sitting in the garage, cutting coupons. I dropped my bike and ran over to him, showing him the green card. “Peke ba ito?” I asked in Tagalog. (“Is this fake?”) My grandparents were naturalized American citizens — he worked as a security guard, she as a food server — and they had begun supporting my mother and me financially when I was 3, after my father’s wandering eye and inability to properly provide for us led to my parents’ separation. Lolo was a proud man, and I saw the shame on his face as he told me he purchased the card, along with other fake documents, for me. “Don’t show it to other people,” he warned.

I decided then that I could never give anyone reason to doubt I was an American. I convinced myself that if I worked enough, if I achieved enough, I would be rewarded with citizenship. I felt I could earn it.

I’ve tried. Over the past 14 years, I’ve graduated from high school and college and built a career as a journalist, interviewing some of the most famous people in the country. On the surface, I’ve created a good life. I’ve lived the American dream.

But I am still an undocumented immigrant. And that means living a different kind of reality. It means going about my day in fear of being found out. It means rarely trusting people, even those closest to me, with who I really am. It means keeping my family photos in a shoebox rather than displaying them on shelves in my home, so friends don’t ask about them. It means reluctantly, even painfully, doing things I know are wrong and unlawful. And it has meant relying on a sort of 21st-century underground railroad of supporters, people who took an interest in my future and took risks for me.

Last year I read about four students who walked from Miami to Washington to lobby for the Dream Act, a nearly decade-old immigration bill that would provide a path to legal permanent residency for young people who have been educated in this country. At the risk of deportation — the Obama administration has deported almost 800,000 people in the last two years — they are speaking out. Their courage has inspired me.

There are believed to be 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. We’re not always who you think we are. Some pick your strawberries or care for your children. Some are in high school or college. And some, it turns out, write news articles you might read. I grew up here. This is my home. Yet even though I think of myself as an American and consider America my country, my country doesn’t think of me as one of its own.

My first challenge was the language. Though I learned English in the Philippines, I wanted to lose my accent. During high school, I spent hours at a time watching television (especially “Frasier,” “Home Improvement” and reruns of “The Golden Girls”) and movies (from “Goodfellas” to “Anne of Green Gables”), pausing the VHS to try to copy how various characters enunciated their words. At the local library, I read magazines, books and newspapers — anything to learn how to write better. Kathy Dewar, my high-school English teacher, introduced me to journalism. From the moment I wrote my first article for the student paper, I convinced myself that having my name in print — writing in English, interviewing Americans — validated my presence here.

The debates over “illegal aliens” intensified my anxieties. In 1994, only a year after my flight from the Philippines, Gov. Pete Wilson was re-elected in part because of his support for Proposition 187, which prohibited undocumented immigrants from attending public school and accessing other services. (A federal court later found the law unconstitutional.) After my encounter at the D.M.V. in 1997, I grew more aware of anti-immigrant sentiments and stereotypes: they don’t want to assimilate, they are a drain on society. They’re not talking about me, I would tell myself. I have something to contribute.
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/magazine/my-life-as-an-undocumented-immigrant.html

Sirop14

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We have been requested to elaborate

Post  Sirop14 on Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:45 am

We have been asked/requested to elaborate - we had some Philippines business and diplomatic contact in Vienna - then Ferdinand Marco and his Family, those form the USA, the White House and the Service at the time and we had been initiated/made a Fellow of Prof Dr Micheal Hoffman IMI Vienna and our ability to made given input in the greater working of the Indian Ocean and Philippines - our input. When we came to Britain - London we had resonable good experience and knowledge. Events and development with our exile, Sechelles Seychelles, the OAU, the Gulf Region, Asia and the USA Policy. We are not permitted to present the details in public - we played certain role in events in Philippines sarrounding the Marcos Family, the changes and other development to this day. In Kilburn - Brent we were allowed to research in the only then serious documentation centre in Europe for the Philippines about the Marco Regime/working and government. Then Cold War and the USSR/COMECON and FA Rene Regime/Gorvernment. In the new SDA Synagagues - the Philippines began their SDA Church - today they have two Church of their own. We had many good acquaintances, friends from their respective communities in Britain. We used to attend some of their functions too.

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Re: My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant

Post  Sirop14 on Sun Jun 26, 2011 8:47 am

Letter to the Editor - 25.06.2011
2011 Gusi Peace laureates

Thank you for publishing the news that I have been awarded the “Gusi Peace Prize Award 2011” (your article in Nation of 21st June 2011) - headed “Mancham Awarded Peace Prize for Statesmanship”.

In that article, you rightly stated that this year there were more than 1300 proposals out of which the selection committee of 13 members selected only 15 to be the laureates of 2011.

I am sure your readers would like to know the others who have been confirmed as Gusi Peace Laureates for this year:-

They are:-
(1) Buzz Adin (USA), for his historic achievements in outer space and science. He landed on the moon in 1969, the Apollo 11 with astronauts Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins;

(2) Governor M.K. Narayanan of West Bengal, Calcutta (INDIA), for governance;

(3) Commissioner Norman Inkster (CANADA), for international law enforcement and peacekeeping;

(4) Dr. Jagdish Gandhi, the great grandson of Mahatma Gandhi (INDIA), founder of the City Montessori School in Lucknow, India, UNESCO prize winner, considered by the Guinness Book of Record as the largest school by pupils, for his contribution to world peace through education;

(5) Education Minister Thakur Powdyel (BHUTAN), for his contribution in academe;

(6) The Honourable Tekin Kucukali (TURKEY), the President of the National Red Cross of Turkey, for his contribution to social services and humanitarianism throughout Near East, Europe and Asia;

(7) The Honourable Professor Amos C. Sawyer (LIBERIA), former President of Liberia, for peace building in Liberia and Africa;

(Cool Mrs Diana Uribe (COLUMBIA), a Simon Bolivar prize winner for journalism in the entire Latin America, Columbia’s respectable journalist, for freedom of expression through journalism;

(9) Phra Maha Vudhaya Vajiramedhi (THAILAND), for his contribution to world peace as a national and celebrated leader of Buddhism through Dhamma teaching in Thailand, for social services and spiritual leadership;

(10) Dean Raul Sunico (PHILIPPINES), a world celebrated performing artist, applauded in his performance worldwide as a pianist;

(11) Professor Anton Antonov (BULGARIA), for his scientific invention and design of an apparatus for measurement of biophysical phenomena in humans;

(12) Professor Herbert Klima (AUSTRIA), for scientific invention, a renowned Biophysicist at the Vienna Institute of Nuclear Physics;

(13) Dr Wing Kun Tam (CHINA), current President of the Lions Club International based in Chicago, for his great contributions in social services and humanitarism throughout China and Asia.

James R. Mancham

Source Seychelles Nation

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