About 15 years ago, I came into the country with a tourist visa. I am now able to work because I have a work permit. Somebody was helping me with my legal documentation for residency but it turned out he was a fraud. I am now again doing the paperwork. This is why I cannot leave the country, I would not be able to come back in.
When they announced there was going to be an immigration reform, we were happy. But when we saw what they offered, well… I’m glad that the law will maintain families united, but those of us who have no family, even if we have been here a long time, then we’re left out. If I’m not married, I don’t qualify. My friend has also never married, and doesn’t have kids. And he’s says: “once again, we are left out”.
There is not a single day that goes by where I do not think about getting my permanent residency. This picture shows how I feel about the service of the immigration and citizenship. I feel that is a very unjust service. It’s a service that plays with the life and feelings of human beings… It is just politics playing with the feelings of human beings. They hurt you as if you were an enemy, so I am annoyed to think that there is a service that is supposed to be serving the laws and the people. I feel indignation.
If I go back to Guatemala, who knows how it will go? Here, I am undocumented, and there too. My brothers sent me my documents, and I went to the agency. I lacked a consular ID, birth certificate, a passport. I showed them my ID from the college on Broadway, but they didn’t give me anything. I went crazy because they wouldn’t give me anything. I was very sad, very depressed, abandoned, I lost my backpack, someone stole all of my documents.
Migrants are what the politicians take and use when they find it convenient, and when it’s not convenient they kick us out. So the Republicans are like the wind: they move when it’s convenient for them and it goes back and forth, and same thing with the Democrats. I don’t understand much of that. I would like to understand it better. I don’t need the visa or citizenship. If they gave it to me for next week then I would go but if they offer it and it’s going to take three years or six years then by the time I get it maybe it’ll be to enter legally back into Mexico.
I advocate for the rights of immigrants in this country. I travel around the country to do demonstrations, marches and carry the voice of the people with whom I work. I’m in the same situation as many of them. Why do I do this? I have the strength to keep on struggling for myself and my own rights. It is not the same to be fighting for immigrants if you are in the same situation. For this reason, you will fight harder.
These are four women, all from Casa Latina, at the Martin Luther King Day March… They’re all holding hands together, the four of them, like struggling together. It was a nice picture, as part of the march and in solidarity. That made me proud of my colleagues here at Casa Latina, with their strong will, that we can all keep on moving forward together.
This march was on Martin Luther King day. There have been other marches that I have participated in. And I like to be active, to let it be known who I am. I also participated in the march in 2006, and last year, when I was detained in the immigration detention center in Tacoma, I participated in the hunger strike. I share what some of the leaders here at Casa Latina say: “we have to be part of the battle for the rights of Hispanics.” It’s not just about me. It’s for the others too. Maybe I won’t get what I want individually.
The march is important so that the government can listen to us. What we want is to work honestly, to bring our bread home for our families, be it here or away, to send some money to the family in Mexico or wherever they are. And each one, each head is a whole world and we’re all thinking about the same thing. We’re all thinking about work.
took those pictures at the Court House. That represents justice for me, that this guy is being taken away. You know, there are people who come here and rather than trying to work and to help their family, they come to hurt others and to damage others or their family or friends. Those are people who come to take away other people’s dreams. I took those pictures because they took that person who had done something wrong and they are putting him away and locking him up. This person killed a friend of ours, here from Casa Latina, to rob him maybe a bit of money.