Sunday, November 25, 2012

Applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

And thus the long awaited post is here, me applying for Deferred Action. I never made applying a priority, but it was something on the back of my head. It wasn't until a lawyer broke it down and answered some of my questions did I finally felt comfortable in wanting to apply. The fact of the matter is that government paper work is always intimidating in numerous aspects. The language used, showing proof of your presence, not knowing whether you are filling out the application right etc. It's no wonder most folks lawyer up and pay for services to do it right the first time around.

I however, have the privilege of having access to resources and support beyond what anyone outside of the immigrant rights movement can get. I started collecting all of my paper work little by little. The final and longest piece that I needed, my transcripts from the Los Angeles Unified School District, took the longest because of spelling errors in my name. Go figure. The rest of the documents were easy enough to gather since I have that stuff in storage and what not. After that it was a matter of just sending out a text, sending out an email and BAM!! I have a lawyer lined up to look at my application.

In retro-spec, everything that has happened over the last year or so, have made me realize that things are fucked up beyond anything I could have ever imagined. And I say that with a unique perspective on things. I was at there in the beginning when folks were researching presidential executive orders, strategizing to get support from others and questioning whether something like this would work. I was there, along with many others, when the first act of civil disobedience got the White House's attention and brought them to the bargaining table.

So when the announcement was made on June 15th, all of those doubts went away because something tangible was accomplished. Something that no other major organization or non-profit has be able to do in the last few years, but you best bet they were the first one's to nay-say us. From then on, the only thing that mattered was getting as much information as possible from USCIS and to start facilitating the process of helping folks apply for daca.

To date, only 50,000 folks out of 300,000 plus have been fully approved. Those are shitty numbers, but then again, bureaucracy makes the process lengthy. Now that Obama is going to be in office, more folks are going to be applying since daca is a for sure thing for the time being. And now reflecting as I'm going to through the process myself, thinking back on the feeding frenzy that occurred when daca was first announced and how things are playing out, it's a reality check.

Daca, at most, helps out an approximated 1.8 million individuals because of it's requirements. If something on the level of the federal Dream Act or Immigration reform were to pass, everyone would have a fucking aneurysm from all the chaos it would cause. Seeing the daca after-math made me confront my own personal ideals and beliefs. For the last couple of years, I'ved put my time and energy into organizing with undocumented immigrants to to pass the Dream Act on the federal level, but also sharing resources and information at the local level.

I loved going to high schools and giving AB 540 presentations to undocumented high school students who had no idea that they have tremendous support networks waiting for them once they go to college. I loved talking to parents on how they could help their kids help themselves when it comes to paying for college and getting help. I enjoyed doing all those things because I was just sharing information. I didn't go in acting like a know it all or anything, I just shared my story and told folks that going to college while being undocumented is possible, and this is how you can do it.

Daca is nothing like that. All folks wanted was to have their hands held. For you to give them everything ready, so they don't have to think or do as little work as possible. I hated that. Everyone wants to reap the rewards of daca, but yet majority of folks never put in the time. I say that knowing that other folks have other responsibilities to handle and being an activist is at the bottom of those responsibilities. No one can hate on that.

At best, all I gave folks was access to resources on how they can help themselves. Rarely did I answer specific questions about applying because you only get one chance to apply. If you fuck up, you are fucked. The same would happen at informational/application workshops, but as things progressed, I realized that's the nature of things, that's the hardcore reality of what I and others have been fighting for. And in the end, it's my fault for thinking that way, allowing myself to believe the opposite of what my instincts were telling me.

It all plays out like a story really. The one that comes to mind is that of Faust and the philosopher's stone. This notion of achieving greatness without having to give up anything in return, only to be damned in the end when one is forced to face the truth and the perversions it has caused. One simply can't bargain with the devil and expect everything to turn out OK. You would have to be some kind of fool to believe that, and I good sir/madam, am no fool.