undacamented

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“President Obama, my name is __________ and I’m calling from _______ to urge you to stop cooperating with ICE! The breaking apart of our families and of our hearts, must stop now! Under your presidency, over 2 MILLION deportations have been ordered! Enough is enough! Stop the deportations, and break ICE instead, THIS VALENTINE’S DAY!”
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This Valentine’s Day join us as we demand: President Obama stop breaking up families and breaking hearts! Break ICE (Immigration Customs Enforcement) instead!
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#BreakICE #NotFamilies! This Valentine’s Day @WhiteHouse will hear our roar: #Not1More deportation!

How are we really celebrating this 1 year DACA anniversary ?

So this DACA anniversary is this Saturday. Many will celebrate and many will really analyse the impact it has had on our communities. And when i say impact I mean: the language it introduced in terms of how we speak about “desirable immigrants”/“deserving” undocumented, the impact (or not so much impact ) on many undocumented youth that do not qualify for daca , the impact of DACA in terms of it creating some type of relief for some undocumented youth which is great but does not really acknowledge the real immigration reform needed , the impact of undocumented organizers activist on the ground occupying OFA and years of push by immigrant communities that led to DACA (not because Obama loves us or because of “pro” immigrant national organizations ), the impact of DACA on organizers and many undocumented youth led organizations , how daca has aided people in the coming out undocumented process, how daca for many has frozen their coming out undocumented process, how about the way daca gives us a glimpse in terms of how CIR is being talked about “model minority” and this “pull your self by the bootstrap to qualify” status , how many DACA eligible undocumented youth that have applied are being rejected , for those that have been granted DACA being oppressed in this country has not stopped unlike popular belief , how DACA saves you but your family is still targeted for deportation, how about a dialogue on how daca undocumented youth are being discriminated in their jobs, or not being able to find jobs , larger conversation on the emotional & psychological toll of DACA on immigrant undocumented youth communities ,how DACA is hella expensive, how for many “pro” immigrant organizations DACA has allowed them to be lazy, many scholarships/jobs/ internships now opening up to DACA undocumented youth ….how about ALL UNDOCUMENTED YOUTH , the limiting conversation to only “DACA” undocumented youth. DACA was never an end goal , our communities deserve EVERYTHING- this country/government owes us everything (all rights and services including health care ) and it is about ALL our communities (that includes LGBTQ and Trans immigrants) ……I am anticipating all this happy cheery vague bull shit celebration e-blasts but i truly hope we have a critical dialogue and impact of DACA during this 1 year anniversary and continue to have a critical conversation on immigration and this bullshit CIR bill .

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That DACAmented life and its privileges and its contradictions and all the feelings we get once you’re part of it. 

Drivers License on Progress!

Guess what guy took is written test for a drivers license and passed? I did! I feel like at an opera show and winning a School District from under my chair. I felt like I won an award. I felt like the most amazing person in the world! I would like to thank god and my mother and sisters and my helpful DACA supporters! Let’s pass that immigration reform now!

Sometimes I feel really conflicted about my legal status.

At once, the gravity of being undocumented and my parents’ almost unwillingness to pay for my DACA application is almost overwhelming.

But at the same time, I can’t help but feel incredibly privileged with respect to other undocumented students because I attend an elite private college that essentially covers all financial aid (with the exception of tax withholdings for being an “international” student–which amount to about 2K$/year).

The survey is almost coming to a close! Please share your experiences in college so we can inform policies to better serve you! You must have been enrolled at any point in college in the last year (2013-2014), So yes if you took a quarter/semester off you should participate! If you graduated this year please participate! Your voice is important! To take the survey visit undocuscholars.org

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Tony Ortuno, 23, California

My name is Tony Ortuno. I am an UnDACAmented and queer person of color from Orange County, California. If you are wondering why I use UnDacamented as an identity let me explain my story. In the year 1992 my mom, sister and me immigrated to the United States to reunite with my dad and other family members who had previously immigrated. I became aware of my immigration status at very young age and realized the struggles of what being undocumented meant through my parents’ experiences. It was not until I was in high school that I faced my first experience with marginalization and explicit exclusion because of my undocumented status. This specific experience was maneuvering the already complicated college application and overall processes that come with getting into college.

I could not apply for various scholarships, as they required a social security number, which my undocumented status does not afford me. This also meant that the state would not provide any means of financial aid to pay for my schooling. I maneuvered my way through an institutionalized education system as an undocumented student for four stressful years. During my time at the local community college I became involved with the Orange County Dream Team, a grassroots organization that advocates and supports the rights of undocumented students of all nationalities. My involvement and motivation to organize with this group was at first for reason to change my personal circumstance as an undocumented person. I later learned that what our organization was doing was a part of social movement that would change the course of history for immigrant youth locally, at the state and national level.

The frame of what we were doing continued to develop into the context of social justice. This became inherently clear when I finally became comfortable with my sexuality and at the age of 19 I came out of that scary dark closet. I began using my story as a queer undocumented person to discuss the struggles we face. Far beyond bringing our narratives to the forefront of a movement led by youth, it was also about finally discussing intersectionalities as immigrant people. I organized with immigrant youth for the past 5 years and it has been an amazing time in my life where I learned, cried, rallied, laughed, grew, networked and expanded my consciousness around social justice. It was amazing!

One of our greatest victories was pushing our campaign to have President Obama grant undocumented immigrant youth known as “Dreamers” deferred action. On June 15th, 2012 he announced that the government would now issue these students with a process known as Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Essentially it would, if approved, allow us to work “legally” in this country and remove us from any potential danger of deportation. This win gave our community the relief we have been fighting for, for years. That is why some people now identify as UnDACAmented youth. This win came at such an essential moment in my life because it was only about one month after I had graduated from the university with a degree in Political Science. I am now working at our local LGBTQ community services center as a youth program coordinator where I get the opportunity to provide LGBTQIA youth with the necessary tools to organize for safe and inclusive schools in Orange County. I still organize with immigrant youth at a different capacity but my goal now is to train future advocates for social justice while I continue to grow as an organizer in my local community.