It’s Not Every Day a Dreamer Gets to Go Home
By Fernando Romero
Fernando, graduated from Cal State Long Beach in 2009 and studied Creative Writing and Journalism. He is a co-founding member of Dreamers Adrift and co-founding member of the AB 540 group FUEL @ CSULB. He is also the Coordinator for the Justice for Immigrants Coalition of Inland Southern California, which is an immigrant-rights coalition in the Inland Empire region of California. He is also a contributing writer to the Huffington Post on the Dream Activist series.
“Pursuing a nameless DREAM. Unclassifiable, the DREAM of our youth. In other words, the bravest of all DREAMs.” – Roberto Bolaño
Im writing this four hours before my plane takes off.
It’s hard to explain the feelings and emotions going through me right now; part excitement, part anxiety, part nervousness, but that’s what is making this moment very beautiful. The one constant thing that is going my mind through is all the memories in the past that made this moment impossible. Memories of being locked in between worlds, without having affirmation of actually belonging to either of them. Memories of being stuck here without finding any sense direction. Unable to call yourself Mexican because you don’t live there anymore, but unable to call yourself American because you lack legal status.
I was merely a child when my parents brought us to this country. I remembered that day like it was yesterday. I was smuggled in the back of a truck while my parents ran across the desert. It’s been 21 years since I’ve been home. The last time I was home, I was still in second grade. The last time I was home, I still had baby-fat. A lot of things have happened in Mexico in the last 20 years. In 1993, there was a devaluation of the national currency which forced a lot of people (like my family) to go north. In 1994, there was an uprising of rebels of the Southeastern part of the country in Chiapas. The last time I was home, Carlos Salinas de Gortari was in power and five Presidents have been sworn in since then.
I feel very blessed to be in this moment.
A moment that up until recently I didn’t think would ever materialize. It’s not every day that a DREAMer gets to go home. I want to thank all the students and brilliant people I’ve met within the movement who’ve been a large piece of the puzzle. Being a dreamer, will be, by far, the greatest moment and aspect of my life. Getting your Green Card and being able to travel back home is not uncommon. What is uncommon is to be a politically-conscious, undocumented student dreamer who eventually is able to do just that.
I feel blessed.
Blessed because I know that many people who are undocumented can only “dream” of going back home. I feel blessed (and it’s probably the melancholy that’s nagging at me at the moment), the memories and remnants of a former life and childhood that have always guided to pursue higher education, to pursue a better quality of life for myself and for others, to live out the dreams of our parents.
Tonight will be the first night I will get some sleep. I’ve been tossing and turning for some 20 odd years. Life has been swamped by bad memories and terror dreams. Nigthmares that would make me want to smash the clock when the alarm of life went off in the morning. Real life nightmares that would make me want to crash behind the wheel at the anxiety of being arrested for driving unlicensed, nightmares of seeing my whole life flashing in front of me every time I saw the police approaching my car, nightmares of repetition toiling away at minimum wage jobs for not being able to practice and work with my university degree.
And this is what it is. It’s the same story for a lot of us. I And no matter where I go, I promise to stay the same. I’m won’t forget where I came from including my undocumented past and identity.