Undocumented and Awkward: Episode 1
As undocumented immigrants living in this country, there are many instances in our lives which result in awkwardness not experienced by American citizens. Things that millions of others take for granted, such as driving to the grocery store or the ability to go to a bar to enjoy a nice cold beer after a long hard day at work, can turn into awkward silences at best, or deportation situations at worst.
In this episode, Jesus experiences an awkward ping of the heart when he shows up to a blind date at a club and is barred from entering because he doesn’t have an American-issued identification card.
The lack of an American identification card is one of the most problematic aspects of the undocumented lifestyle. It inhibits us from participating in countless leisure activities and it exposes us when in professional situations. It creates awkward moments in which our immigration status is brought up by government officials and law enforcement officers, potential employers, regular business people, and even friends and family members. Having to explain ourselves can oftentimes lead to embarrassing conversations that result in misunderstanding.
Because in many parts of the United States, law enforcement officers can stop anyone at any time, it’s important for everyone to have some sort of identification so as to avoid grave situations with police. Often times, our way around that is to obtain a passport from our home countries or a consulate card.
A consulate identification card is the most common form of ID that immigrants have (documented and undocumented). In the case of Mexicans, it looks something like this:
It’s a federally issued ID card that can be used in many instances, such as opening a bank account, in most financial transactions, opening accounts for utilities, applying for schools, etc. And contrary to popular belief amongst the American population, as it’s clearly not an American ID card, one cannot use it to vote, obtain a license or state ID, apply for welfare, and many other services that are provided for American citizens.
But in spite of the fact that it is a legal and federally issued identification card, many businesses opt not to take a consulate card as valid form of ID. Hence, being turned away at an R-rated movie or being turned away at a bar can be a reminder of our place in American society, proof of our second-class citizenship. We can certainly use it to open accounts with corrupt banking corporations, use it as proper identification in encounters with police officers, use it to pay fines and tickets, but we cannot use for everyday trivial things, such as enjoying a city’s night life or buying a lousy bottle of wine for a significant other’s birthday celebration.
Do YOU have an awkward moment that you’d like to share with us? Leave us a comment! We might just run with your experience (because chances are, we’ve experienced something similar) and create a video around the idea!
You can also send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.