Biometrics Are IN!

November 27, 2012

BOOYAH!

They are in!

My fuckin’ FABULOUS finger prints are in! My hand prints, finger prints and a picture of my geeky face in a blue long-sleeve, corduroy, polo-style shirt have been submitted into the gubernatorial vortex.

WHEW! It. Is. Done.

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I haven’t been updating much on the immigration situation because my focus was on getting stable enough to function and get all the paperwork in. In case you’re new and are just now reading, I am an immigrant, an undocumented immigrant to say the very least. I’ve lived in Texas since I was five years old, roughly twenty-two years, but who’s counting right? *cough*

Back in June, President Obama made a sly move to get a head start in the 2012 elections–he signed an executive order for DACA (deferred action for childhood arrivals) meaning that, a) undocumented aka “illegal” immigrants who came to the U.S. prior to the age of sixteen would be deferred/protected by law from deportation proceedings and, b) they would, by discretionary case, receive a work permit so they (I) can work legally in the United States.

I currently cannot work “legally”. It is a difficult situation to be in as I mentioned in my posts “P Is in SHOCK! UTTER FUCKIN’ SHOCK!” and “P Is in SHOCK! UTTER FUCKIN’ SHOCK! …. But then remembers…”

Most of my friends and acquaintances who are in the same boat either work as waiters, house keepers (like my mother did), janitors (like my father did), construction or farm worker etc.–all jobs I cannot do in a wheelchair. My only options, out of desperation, were to try and freelance. But being mental and having severe anxiety on top of transportation issues makes freelancing extremely difficult. Besides, I needed more discipline.

Since I graduated college in May of 2011, my freelance jobs have added to nearly nothing. I tried websites like e-lance and all this other shit I can’t remember. I spend hours on those sites, touching up my resumé, putting up samples of my work, only to find that at the end of the process, I was always asked for a Social Security number which I obviously do not have.

It became another brick added to the weight of the depression that eventually knocked me down in May. But then, alas, June came with the news of Obama’s signature. I’m not an Obamacrat, I’ll tell you straight up. I’m with the rebel alliance and Jedi nights, not the empire. Besides, Obama had promised several activist groups (some of which I was part of) that he would sign this YEARS ago, but as a true politician, he did not until this election year.

Anywho, I’m not goin’ into my political or social ideals in detail since that is not the focus of my blog. I established at least that from the beginningWhat I do want to share is MY STORY.

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In mid-October I received such wonderful birthday presents!

I got some stretchy pants from my mama, a poem from Angel; I got to see Fiona Apple LIVE with my bro who bought the tickets last-minute; I got a beautiful painting of Mermaid P mailed to moi from Le Sailor–LOOK HERE and I got the DACA application completed and mailed out. That to me was a wonderful gift. They all were.

In April, just before my suck-ass and shameful death attempt, when I thought I couldn’t fall further into depression, I got hooked up with a “job” and felt excitement followed by failure crushing me with the culmination of the second day of work, the day I got fired. I was only an intern, hence the legalities not being clear up and therefore they were not strict in mu application. That’s why I wasn’t asked for my SSI number. Plus, Mansie practically got me that job, a job that only lasted two days.

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Sixty days after Obama’s June executive order, the DACA law went into effect. To cut my rambling a little short, I have had a long process applying for DACA since September, but I finally had my biometrics appointment today!

The biometrics proceeding is basically when USCIS, the Immigration and Citizenship Services department calls you in to take a photo of you, mark your fingerprints and so on, you know, Big Brother type shit . The dude who fingerprinted me was wearing blue latex gloves like he was about to give me an enema. I ranted on my MsMouse Facebook as follows (note the terrible grammar ’cause I was on a not-so-smartphone that kept auto-correcting me in my agitated state):

My rant for today: It’s so hard having to depend on my dad for SO much! I’m grateful that he’s here, but he’s extremely overbearing and has become more stubborn with age (he’s nearly 70). The biometrics appointment went well even though my dad and I got into an arguedment on the way to the US immigration dept office. It went super fast. Yaaaay!

But fuck anyone who thinks I, or anyone like me should be deported. Twenty two ducking years for this and I’ll still as a non-legal resident, only in immigrant with DACA and work permit. At least ill have that thought. And I can’t wait to finally have a job and a little more freedom! Wooohoo.Fuck you govt for playing with our lives! For controlling my live like a piece in a board game!End rant.

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And that is that! I’m on my way to being more of an adult. I feel as though my entire life I haven’t been given room to grow, to spread out and show my inner beauty. This is why I feel so child-like. It’s not a “bad” thing to be child-like, but what I mean is, I’ve always felt restricted like a child. I’ve felt things that should be entitled to me weren’t. I’m an angry little mouse on a tiny, albeit heavy, leash and the cheese is only a foot away. (Godamn I love cheese!)
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Hopefully in a month’s time, I’ll be receiving a social security number along with my work permit! Nope guys, no green card or “legal status” yet. I’ll still technically be an “illegal,” only an “illegal” who can work “legally” (I prefer undocumented).
And ain’t that an oxymoron? That’s politics for ya…
Here’s a little sketch I did on my not-so-smart-smartphone that my bro’s sweet girlfriend gave me before my surgery!
Anyone know of any good and cheap/free sketching apps for Andriod? This one isn’t too great. But I like that you can’t be precise; it makes me less perfectionistic  less critical and quicker. heheh. The scribble at the right surrounding the MsMouse is supposed to say “ILLEGAL”. Try and figure out which part of the tail is the letter G and/or A.
Mouse love

ILLEGAL MsMouse
2012 (c) paz
I am still undocumented aka “illegal”

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Joaquin Luna is no longer a kid, though he was when he was brought to the U.S..

He was an 18 year-old undocumented high school student, an A+ student before he shot himself a few days ago. Besides that, I don’t know the details of his suicide nor the circumstances the press wants to talk about and/or omit, and I sure as all hell don’t want to think about all of the political implications–all the petty, hateful online arguments about immigrants in the comment sections I used to read so much–and that, I presume, have been stirred by this kid’s publicized story.

I’ve been enjoying my media blackout lately and I hope to keep it that way for a little while, for my own sanity’s sake.

So, I honestly didn’t want to know much, if anything at all. Unfortunately, I could not resist my organizer friend’s Facebook posts and I read on and on. What I do know is that, apparently, there were notes of his with stated worries about his immigration status. Notes not dissimilar to the picture below.

Found this on Post-It[dot]com about a year ago

From Post-It.com


I found this image on Post-It.com last spring and saved in my computer. I’ve had it since and use it as a reminder to stay strong; to not see myself as a victim; to keep my commitment to the movement, the people in it, those who work day in day out organizing, planning, doing, and to the kids. I will continue my efforts to educate them, to tell them they can because I have been there. I am still there. I can only hope the kid who wrote the Post-It didn’t end up like Joaquin. 

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I was a teenager just like Joaquin. And just like the kid who posted this note, I often thought of “jumping off” a bridge or a ledge of some kind (though at thirteen I could barely stand). I didn’t belong anywhere. All those teenage years, I felt I had no voice. “I might as well drown with my fuckin’ voice” I’d whisper.

I often thought of how I would manage drowning myself in Buffalo Bayou or some other creek in the Southwest or Memorial Park or better yet, somewhere more isolated where my body wouldn’t scare too many people once found. I’d have to shoot myself first; then I’d fall in and drown. Wherever. I didn’t exactly matter. That was my plan. I just dreamed of drowning because it seemed better than the kind of drowning I was already experiencing. Society told me being an “illegal” was less than a person. Being an “illegal” meant you weren’t welcome, wanted, cared about, needed. You were a criminal not a human–you weren’t anyt/hing at all.

“I am seen as a waste of righteous and rightful tax paying citizen’s dollars even though my illegal daddy pays taxes too. I’m a waste of flesh, regardless.”

That’s not taking into account all of what family told me, the fears that were bred. “Don’t ever say anything you hear about it! Nunca! Don’t ever call the police, even in scary situations.” It was more so implied than actually said.

No soy de aquí! Ni soy de allá!” I used to silently scream while banging my limp body against a wall, a doorknob, a table corner–anything that would make my body throb, anything to quell the thoughts.

Then I realized that there is such a thing as a privileged class. I learned how much societal structures try to bind us and how much we willingly let them shackle our minds. I learned this thing we humans do in our wonderfully organized societies–we set classes, we classify. And by classifying, we degrade one another.

I was fortunate: the nineties were easier, hell anything prior to 2011 and the aftermath of 9/11  was easier. There weren’t that many Joe Arpaios in Arizona making immigrant detainees dress in pink panties to humiliate them; there were no Tent Cities in Texas; there were no private prisons who profited on “illegal” children and their mothers being detained. I was able to go to college, partly because of my tenacity and partly because I was in the right place at the right time. I got a private church-based scholarship and with that, and a few academic awards, I went to college. Many cannot; many will not. The limits are boundless. Yes, we are the embodiment of that very oxymoron you see in that last sentence.

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Initially, I didn’t think to/want to write a post, especially not one like this. I just had this blog here waiting for something to strike me, to compel me enough to dive into this thing, all nervousness aside. It sat here lonely in November, my little blog.

Unfortunately, something did hit me, but not in the way I’d hoped. I just heard so much about this that I feel I should speak now. It is imperative that I speak up for all of my silent years, for those like Joaquin. Yet, suicide is something that I do not feel comfortable talking about. My thoughts on the subject would require many posts because it runs too close to home for me to even begin.

Being undocumented, however, is something still sitting on my doorstep. It scratches at the door of my thoughts like a hungry street cat that never leaves. What shall I do today? Oh, right, I can’t, I don’t have the nine magic numbers. It’s like being chained on a leash and someone–the great big hand of daddy State–smacks you with the belt and places the plate out of reach.

And so the news of his suicide did cause a strange intimate unease in me. Most suicides do, but this one is considerably different.

It was a momentary unease but it was intense enough to tear a piece off of me. It reached a core in me.

Believe it or not, each stressor–be it big or small–can dance around in an emotionally and mentally unstable person’s mind. Any additional stressor can send them spinning over the edge.

I also find both topics–immigration and suicide–are ones I know a good deal about, or think I do at least. But I can’t argue and I am not going to argue about the reasons or the causes now, because for one, to any given suicidal person there are many (mostly reasons arising from distorted perceptions) and they’re all relative; and two, I never knew the guy. So I will not speculate further.

I will say this however: Suicide is a reality in EVERY population. And there is a markedly high population of undocumented youth living in the U.S. whose mental health is being overlooked, whose lives are forsaken.  It is tragic. I cannot say there are so-and-so thousands hurting because I cannot back this up with statistic. Roughly 65,000 undocumented students graduate U.S public high schools every year. If one in four people are likely to have a severe mental disorder, I can only guess. How many feel pushed back and forth like a bobo doll? Pushed towards furthered mental instability by society.

I can only back it with personal experience, though. I was a participant of a study Dr. Lauren Luttinger conducted on immigrant youth and depression in a New York City university near the Bronx. She told me it  was very telling. Some of her findings were that risks are higher for “illegal” kids much like kids from, say an urban, poverty-stricken neighborhood where the daily diet is violence and hopelessness; kids who are raped; kids from a household with an alcoholic parent; or queer kids in a predominantly Baptist, conservative, rural Texas town. These are just a few examples of the many “high risk” populations.

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This is not just about some bill (D.R.E.A.M Act) being tossed around for a decade by the men in black suits and grey beards calling all the shots, trowing up the bill like a rotten steak. Meanwhile, the chained and malnourished dogs can only look down and salivate.

It’s far too complex. I know. It’s about groups of people and their “place” in society, keeping order, blah blah blah. The “places,” the “classes” nations put them in. The “place” we put ourselves and each other in. It’s the way we treat ourselves and each other.

I just hope people take a little time to consider these things from a broader perspective. I hope they would take a step back from their daily lives for a minute to see it from a more sociological view because society DOES play a role in the nature vs. nurture dichotomy of depression as well as other mental health issues and mental disorders.

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To Joaquin R.I.P.:

Sonnet of the Undocumented Student

Hackneyed, unkind, lost words my mind once bore
In unspoken airs of my resistance.
They’re not a love to write a sonnet for—
These words barely breathe my fumed persistence.
See we, not conquerors of course, are told
And expected to pay our loyalties
To those who make social constructs; yet fold
And love to scorn whilst in their boundaries.
Gracious ports once opened no longer hear
Hope’s clangs rebound, up down, up down on stones.
Now our bodies, voices and dreams call near
To the only land that’s taxed our bones.
Students deemed ‘aliens’ for lack of forms,
Let’s not trade empathy for empty norms!

© Paz 2009