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Undocumented student, Carla, speaks at the Immigrant Youth Justice League “Coming Out” event. The event concerns the DREAM Act and how undocumented student’s mental health is affected. The Adler School of Professional Psychology and the Immigrant Youth Justice League continue this panel on health issues concerning undocumented youth on Nov. 1st, 2011.

[in]secure communities

i spent the day packing to move into my apartment in the city, hoping to spend a quiet night with my sister Carla and Token, our friend’s dog that we’re watching

instead, i received a phone call from Brandon informing me that she was arrested for civil disobedience, blocking traffic at an intersection on West Washington St. after walking out of a Secure Communities hearing (if you don’t already know, the Secure Communities Program has the Immigrant & Customs Enforcement working with state & local law enforcement to identify undocumented people they believe to be “criminals” and naturally, ICE has abused this program and seem to use it as an excuse to profile our innocent fathers, mothers, sons, & daughters).

i cannot even begin to describe how terrifying it is to receive a phone call saying your sister has been arrested and is currently in jail. hearing your family member got arrested is bad enough, but it’s a whole new level of fear when you’re undocumented. it’s a whole new level of panic when something like blocking traffic in protest could potentially be reason enough (in the eyes of ICE) to be deported. it’s a whole new level of sadness seeing your parents bury their faces in their hands, shaking their heads and mumbling weakly about how they don’t want to go back to the Philippines and how there’s nothing for us there anymore.

i’ve seen undocumented students involved in civil disobedience acts get arrested, spend some time in jail, and get released shortly after. i’ve heard countless times from Carla that “the more public you are, the safer”. and maybe that’s true, i don’t know. but it doesn’t change the fact that deportation is still on the table, and that scares the hell out of me.

while i can’t fully get behind risking arrest to draw attention to this issue (you caught me, i’m a bit of a coward when it comes to things like this), it’s a whole new level of bravery to risk your own deportation to bring attention to the injustices all undocumented individuals face every single day.

did i want Carla to get arrested? hell no. anything that could possibly separate my family, i don’t support (including Secure Communities, obvs). i’m still not sure how i feel about her decision, i have yet to talk about it with her but i can’t say i’m thrilled about it or understand why she did it. i know that it was pre-meditated, which is probably why she failed to tell even me about what was going to happen, so she probably figured i would try and talk her out of it. i still can’t fully wrap my brain around her being arrested, as in roughly half an hour, she and the rest of the Chicago6 will be released.

i can’t say i’ll agree with or understand every decision Carla makes when it comes to this issue, but i know her heart is in the right place, and i mean, she is my sister and i love her and all that sappy stuff, so i guess unless she puts herself in any physical danger, i’ll still stand behind her. maybe one day, i’ll even stand next to her.

all i know is my sister and the rest of the Chicago6 are fucking warriors

Driving Undocumented, with Documents

Ruth Gomberg-Munoz is a cultural anthropologist at Loyola and studies the lives of the undocumented immigrant community in Chicago. Ireri Unzueta Carrasco is an organizer with the Immigrant Youth Justice League and also lives here, sin papeles. They join hosts Molly Adams and Brian Babylon in the studio talk about their work to get the new driver’s license law in place in Illinois.