Monday, June 30, 2008

Finding others

I have a job. It allows me to support myself and pay for my schooling and that's all people really need to know. Only close personal friends know about what I have to do, but I meet people at this job. I've met others like me who are unlawful residents and they aren't aware of some of the options available to them. Today I talked to someone about this. I'll reframe from including personal details, but the conversation started with the simple question of why the person wasn't going to college. I talked to them about it and not having papers was one of the reasons. Low self esteem, lack of motivation and just too busy were also reasons they used. In order to break them from their self loathing coffin, I basically outed myself to them and told them that I don't have papers either and that I still manage to go to school and work. Their first reaction is that they can't believe I'm a beaner because I'm so americanized. They have a hard time believing me, but eventually they put the pieces together. I explain to them that while they wont qualify for scholarships and get help from the government, they can still go to school. I tell them how I started going to school taking classes at night from 7 to 10 p.m. while working in the day time. I talked about how they can attend school by paying their way through because they qualify as AB 540 students. In their disbelief and amazement they begin to reconsider their current life choices. I asked them what kind of career they would like to have. At first they're not sure, but ideas start to flow to the point that they can't even decide on one single career aspect. It weird to meet other people who are or were in the same situation as me. Depressed, apathic and just working a mindless job wasting away life. Life is not meant to be spent working everyday just to make ends meat. Like me and all the other undocumented students they have a chance to better themselves and their families by going to school and making something of themselves. All they need is a little push and the right information. It's comforting to know that your not the only one out there, that there's more like you facing the same struggle, working for a dream. I know that's how I felt when I realized I wasn't alone.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Border patrol checking train and bus stops

The last time I wrote on the topic of travel I focused on air travel. I neglected to write about other forms of travel such as trains, buses and cars. I get car sick so when ever I have to be in a car for an extended amount of time I'm always next to an open window, the same goes with buses. I've been on road trips before and having to deal with immigration or getting arrested never became a concern. Not having a car or a friend with a car, riding a train became the only manner in which I cold safely travel without any fear of being deported or arrested. After receiving an email a couple of days ago I gave riding the train a second thought. New American Media reported that riders riding Amtrak rail ways or Greyhound bus lines have been getting stopped by immigration officials/border patrol and checked for proper documentation. The majority of these checkpoints have been near the Canadian border in the northeast and even in the midwest. Agents are basically checking for proper documentation like the police checking to make sure people riding the train or bus have proper fair. All this means to me that even traveling on trains and buses is becoming just as dangerous are air travel. I wanted to go visit my family by taking the train or even going to the San Diego comic-con, but reading this story makes me think twice. In the story they write that the bus companies and train companies knew about the check points and border patrols presence at its boarding stations. They answered that despite knowing that border patrol will be on hand, they have no need or responsibility to warn their passengers of their presence. Of course there's racial profiling because they are trying to find people who aren't in the U.S. legally. This just goes to show you that the immigration battle continues to grow everyday and the longer it carries on without any positive legislation, it's only going to keep getting worse and worse. It might even reach the point of, God forbid, immigration officials checking regular bus stops. The story also had a video of the incident to go along with it by Andrew Burton

Caught in Transit: The Rochester Border Patrol Station from Newshouse on Vimeo.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ey ? Where you from ? You wanna die ?

So I'm walking to the house from work lost in a trail of thoughts when I see the most peculiar thing come my way.
Maybe it's because I grew up with it, but as soon as I saw this black guy come out from an apartment building I realized what he wanted from me. He then ever so nicely asked me, "Ey !!! where you from ? You wanna die ? (lifts shirt to show a 9m or beretta) lift up your shirt !!! where you from ?!."
Now think what you will but when in stupid situations like this come it's best to just go with it and keep cool.
I told him I'm from now where and preceded to show to basically flash this young man so he knows that I'm not from the gang he's looking for.
Of course he flaunted his gangs name, which I didn't even try to remember because I was to busy keeping calm and clear headed so as to not say anything stupid.
He backed of and retreated back into the apartments with three other guys.
One of them, the shortest one, told me that the I dress like the guy they're looking for, blue flannel collar shirt, black shirt, black pants, nikes, backpack, messenger bag and a skateboard in hand.
Apparently I have the fashion sense of a gang banger.
I'll be the first to admit that I was a little shaken up because I had a gun pulled on me.
It's stupid that things like getting hit up because of the way a person dresses still happen here or anywhere for that matter.
It's not as bad as it once was but it's still a major neighborhood problem that claims innocent lives everyday and I could have been one of those.
One the local news with candles and flowers laid on the exact spot that I fell and die.
The cliche review of my life as a college student working his way while staying at a friends house.
I thought about that for a second and decided to narc one these guys.
I'm not the only person that walks through there and God forbid that they actually do kill someone because they thought it was the guy they're looking for.
There's a plethora of emotions that are going through me right now, but I know I made the right choice by calling in the 5-0.
I realize that there's a chance I'll get some back lash for doing this via the bangers looking for me thinking I called the cops on them, which is true but still.
They could get the guy take him to court and they might need me as a witness.
There's a lot of things that can happen and some of those lead to me being dead, so I'm not taking any chances.
When things like this happen and people don't do anything about it, they're just part of the problem.
If things are going to change someone has to be the catalyst for it.
Our own race is still killing each other for stupid and ignorant reasons.
So much for making progress.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

What to do during an immigration raid (detailed)

I noticed that the link from that last post didn't work, so I did one better and I uploaded the files for everyone to see.
This is a break down of the rights a person has if they're caught in an immigration raid.
People are always questioning what are a persons rights ? do they even have rights and other general questions of the same nature.
This will help clear up some of the confusion.

Dream Act on Primer Impacto

I received an email about this news story from a spanish news show called "Primer Impacto" and thought it would be cool to post it up because the Dream Act is gaining more attention.

For those of you not familiar with the show, "Primer Impacto" is basically Univisions version of Dateline.
Stories about current events and topics of interest to the spanish speaking community are highlighted from the U.S., Mexico and parts of South America.
The show has been around for as long as I can remember and one thing that has never changed over the year is that they always have attractive woman as news anchors.
A little eye candy with your news never hurt anyone.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Protection from immigration raids

This is an email that was passed on to me.
Basically it's a "how to" if an undocumented person is arrested at their work, confronted at home or even out in the streets.
They key point to remember is that no matter what, a person arrested by immigration officials or the police has rights.
Inform the arresting official that you want to remain silent until you speak to your lawyer.
Don't incriminate yourself by outing yourself self as an immigrant or by having documents on your person that would imply your illegal residence.
Be as calm as possible and get in contact with family and friends so that you can make sure that if worse comes to worse, your kids and family will be all right until the matter gets settled.
It's sad to say that I have to pass on information like this but desperate times call for desperate measures.
As illegal immigrants we have to take precautions and plan ahead in the case that, God forbid we get deported.
The L.A. Times ran a story on this very topic.
The immigration debate has been going on for so long that the only way for people to actually realize how horrible it's getting is by putting a face and sometimes a story behind them.
I really don't like using other peoples work, specially something as corporate as the L.A. Times but I will admit that they have published some great articles about all the different aspects of illegal immigration and the the people who suffer.

SB 1301/AB 2083 Updates

SB 1301, The California Dream Act, made it out of senate and will be headed for the assembly committees for higher education and appropriations.
This basically means that the bill is going to be discussed in terms of money and other contributing factors that go along in discussing bills.
If no amendments aren't made it will go straight to the governors desk for him to review.
Also AB 2083, Institutional financial aide, passed the assembly floor and it's head to the senate floor for further discussion and delegation.
I've written about both these legislations in the past and in fact my last entry was on 2083, so if you need clarification look below you.