A Dreamer’s Coming of Age

By Adrian Morales

Within the immigrant community, there is the thought of deportation and separation of families, especially right now with all the bills being signed into law. As an immigrant myself, I have had moments when I‘ve felt that I wasn‘t wanted; The feeling that I did something wrong and should feel ashamed of it.

The separation of families due to deportation is something that I have always read about in the newspaper, saw on new stations and heard people talk about.

“…Martha had been separated from her six children – then ages 1 to 23 – when she was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement. At 6 a.m., at the family’s Orange County home, she was handcuffed and taken to the ICE facility in Santa Ana.
Her husband, Juan Manuel, a welder, was already at work, but he was also ordered to appear at the facility. By day’s end, the couple – in the United States for 19 years – were deported to Tijuana. They left behind their six children, three undocumented and three U.S. citizens, on their own.”

This is just one example of the many articles I would read about. It hurts just to think about it. It hurts to think that families, who have to go through this, are dehumanized by those who ask for the deportation of hard working people. It’s as if they are just an object that can be thrown in any direction to try and prove an invalid point. As if they don’t have feelings and no place on this earth. It hurts to think that one has to decide whether they should give everything up and walk across that ‘border’ so that they can be reunited with the loved one(s) that were deported or should they continue to live on ‘this side’ just so that they can hope for something positive to happen.

For me, growing up, my family didn’t talk about the possibility of us being deported nor did we worry about it because, as most people, we kept optimistic that the paper work, that my parents filed, was going to get accepted and that we would be granted residency. And not once did I ever think that I would ever read an article about the separation of my own family. Not once did I think that I would ever see my family’s name in the newspaper regarding a deportation.

“As a mother you’re a protector, even when (your children are) grown, you worry,” says Martha. “That’s why I asked the Virgin of Guadalupe – “Give us the patience, the strength to withstand this difficult moment.”

But on the 16th of March, 2011, I did just that, I was actually reading about my family in the Orange County Register. Columnist Yvette Cabrera spent a weekend with my parents in Mexico so that she can interview them about their May 7, 2008 deportation. Not only did my family’s story come out in the newspaper, but KCET also featured the story. (to read about the story: http://www.ocregister.com/news/children-112469-ocprint-martha-undocumented.html

It’s crazy to think that it has been 3 years since the day of the deportation, it’s even crazier to think it happened to my family. But sometimes I feel that, this incident was my ‘coming of age’ (at age 21). It was an incident that had a huge impact on who I am today. It was the reason why I became very involved in the DREAM Movement. With my involvement, I have learned to turn the pain I had into a fuel that keeps me fighting for what is right and I have also accepted the fact that I will not be able to hug my parents for a few years or see my youngest sister grow up. But I have also learned that there are things that take time and that sometimes we go through things in life that are hard for us to take in, but we must understand that we can create our own “light at the end of the tunnel”. We must always keep our heads up because only then will we have a better understanding at what life has to offer. Although I can say I am able to start and end my day with a smile, I am still waiting for the day that I find closure.


2 Responses to “A Dreamer’s Coming of Age”
  1. Greeeeeeeeat Blog Love the Infomation you have provided me .

  2. Graciela says:

    Your essay was very well done Adrian.
    I can only imagine the pain you and your family faced and probably still facing by having both of your parents deported. I can certainly relate to your story – it really hits home. I admire you for being able to bounce back from that situation and be able to be brave enough to continue fighting for the undocumented. Like you, I have also felt “unwanted” and “ashamed” Even though we are not at blame, we end up blaming ourselves for actions that were completely out of our reach. It’s hard, yet we have to keep on going and keep on fighting for our rights. We have been silenced for too long and that has not been working. So now we speak, shout and rally – Let’s continue to give them something to talk about!