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Ungrateful? No. I’d say I’m realistic. I have decided I will not be getting a pink license. This decision has not only surprised my friends but also my family. I understand that by not getting one not only will it affect me but also them. The truth is I have been discriminated against for the past thirteen years that I’ve lived in this country. I’m sick and tired of it. On March 25th, I plan to come out publicly about my immigration status because I refuse to be further discriminated, but more importantly because I refuse to continue to live in the shadows and afraid. I will continue to drive without a license and I will do so without fear. 

Monserrat at Securing Our Own Families Training

Monserrat at Securing Our Own Families Training

I thank my friends, family, teammates and all of those who supported us the dreamers back in January when we were fighting to get our license. I was one of those who were at the rallies, demanding equal rights. I never thought that we would be issued licences that brand us and single us out in red letters: “No Lawful Status”. Why not “Legal Presence” instead? After all, we do hold legal presence.

I’ve been in this country for thirteen years. I’ve missed my grandparents’ birthdays and their funerals. I’ve missed Mexico too. I’ve been asked before why I don’t just go back. I don’t go back because I’m not giving up. I have dreams and goals I want to achieve. Also, my family is here. But living in the US has not been easy. Fourth grade was hard - I got bullied because I speak English with an accent. In middle school, the problem was my skin color. And in high school.. well that’s when I realized what it means to be illegal. It was during junior and senior year that I understood everything perfectly. Not only was my skin color the problem, but also my immigration status. Senior year, while everyone was filling out their college applications, a classmate who was also illegal and I were the only ones not doing it. Not because we didn’t want to but because we couldn’t. I will never forget what I felt during that time.

Monserrat at the We Want Our License Rally at the NCDOT

Monserrat at the We Want Our License Rally at the NCDOT

We all have decisions to make and I know that at the end of the day a license is a license, and boy do I need it. But.. no, thank you. I have decided not to get a pink license because I refuse to allow anyone else to single me out, bully me, or make me feel less human and less of a person because of my immigration status. This will not keep me from driving, however. I will be driving without fear!

As part of the NC Dream Team, I believe in the power of organizing. I believe in the power of my community to stand up and fight back. Whether you have to get a pink license or you choose not to, I encourage you to DROP THE FEAR. What matters is that we drop the fear of ICE or the police and acknowledge the power we have as a community to fight back. On March 25th, I am driving without fear. Will you be there? Will you drop the fear?

What: Driving Without Fear / Manejando Sin Miedo Rally

Where: DMV on 2431 Spring Forest Road, North Raleigh, NC, 27615

Time: 3 pm

Estephania Mijangos coming out for the first time about her immigration status at a Youth Empowerment Summit in Sanford, NC.

My name is Estephania Mijangos and I am undocumented. I came to the United States in the summer of 1999 with my family in order to join my grandmother. It’s a decision that my mother has regretted many times during these last few years and that at times I have as well. At first everything was great I started school and made many friends which I love deeply even now and who i am still relatively close to even after all these years. Whenever I introduce some of them I always say how they were my first translators when I started school and how they always supported me. I think that a big part of why I learned to love school quickly here was because of them without their support I don’t know how easy my transition would have been. From the beginning I was a favorite of my teachers and I always loved to see their faces of approval at my quick development and grasp of things. I continued to excel in school and already had my life planned out. I would graduate with high grades get a few scholarships and if that still wasn’t enough I would just go to a community college while I worked to be able to move on.

My freshman year of high school I began to see just how tough things really were for someone in my position. Laws began to pass that barred undocumented students from community college but because of talks I heard about the Dream Act I decided not to worry about it. I always believed that it would get passed by the time I graduated and that my life would continue to just advance. My sophomore year I began to realize how things might not be so easy. All of my friends got their drivers permit and some were given cars by their parents it was then that I had to begin to make excuses as to why I didn’t do what was expected of me. I didn’t get my permit, then my licence, and a car. I didn’t start to look at colleges when they did or even talk about college plans. I always avoided such conversations my supposed lack of interest in my future made me look stupid and my ego made me hate my situation even more.


Estephania speaks out at a vigil

I stopped working as hard in school as I should have something which I deeply regret now but can’t change. I can now see that even though then I didn’t acknowledge it I was depressed. I began to make arrangements to go to school in Mexico because although I had stopped working hard I still saw what I wanted and still cared enough to try to find a way to it. All my plans were quickly slashed one after the other because of family differences or because of the violence in Mexico that made it impossible for my parents to allow me to go to a certain region. I hated it and was so cynical that by then the faces of approval the teachers made when they talked to me about an essay or when discussing novels angered me. I hated those looks and wanted them to stop when before I had worked for them.

I began to see the differences in my AP and Honors teachers toward other students. They always smiled at us and encouraged us but always stated their dislike for having to teach one non-advanced class every now and then. Every time they made these remarks I began to look around and saw that my classmates just smiled and some laughed clearly proud of being the favorites and never thinking that she was talking about other students. I was ashamed when I realized that not long before I made the same stupid faces would simply agree with what she said. I was so selfish. If they disliked students simply because they were not at the advanced level how would they treat me if I ever told them I was undocumented. Would they still invest time on me? Would they care for me and smile every time that they saw me and hugged me or would they have ignored me because to them I would have been a waste of time. I distinctly remember one day while we sat in English 12 discussing a novel when the principal walked in. The teacher finished explaining her points and then greeted the principal warmly. They talked about us and she proudly said that we were all headed off to the best universities in the country and began to point out the students that had already received their acceptance letters and mentioning the scholarships they had received. She walked around the classroom and petted us on the head as she walked by. My whole day was ruined after that. I remember that there were days I would sit in my room and just look out the window for hours not thinking about anything just staring at the trees or my dog running around then I would do my homework and go to sleep. I wonder if it would have been easier I had just allowed myself to cry.

“I am Estephania Mijangos. I am undocumented, unafraid, and unashamed. I refuse to remain in the shadows as I watch the inhumane way in which we are treated when we are equal.” #Raleigh3

When graduation arrived I didn’t take part in anything that marked the end of high school. I didn’t take the senior pictures, buy my cap and gown, or even attend my own graduation ceremony. To me graduating wasn’t an achievement or something worth celebrating because after that I had no plans or roads to follow.

The Dream Act would help change that not just for me but also for many other youth that are in the same situation. I’m twenty-one now but I think back to when I was just sixteen and the way I thought and felt and it is because of everyone that has felt the same or does now that it is important to support the Dream Act. To speak loudly about it and work as hard as possible to make sure everyone knows about it. To reach the student whose world at age eighteen is falling apart and feels like they have no one that understands their pain. The student who feels useless in their own life making decisions because someone has already decided how far they are allowed to go without once getting to know them as a person. It is for all of them that it’s important to speak out and encourage them so that hopefully they can reach the point where they can say undocumented and unafraid.

At that point they can speak up for themselves and no longer watch as others speak for them just like I did before joining the NC Dream Team. When I began to be active in NC Dream Team I didn’t want to be open about it. I was still scared but with time they helped me build my courage and gave me the strength to come out. In the team I have found a family of support and care which I wish I had always had. I’m learning to care for them more than I have for people in a long time. We face many challenges and there’s going to be many people against us but it will help us be stronger for each other and make us better human beings in the end.

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Estephania Mijangos is a graduate of Lee County High in Sanford, NC. She is an active member of Brick City Dream Team.

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By Maria Alejo

Here in North Carolina, undocumented students like me have to pay almost FOUR times as much in tuition costs to attend a community college. My state acknowledges me as a resident when it comes to paying taxes; I have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service that I use to file my taxes. Yet, as I apply for the upcoming fall semester at Vance-Granville Community College, I’m told I have to pay out-of-state tuition for the classes I need to take. Which is it, NC? Am I a resident or not?


The following was originally written as a scholarship essay by an undocumented high school student in Granville County, North Carolina. Feel like taking a stand? Come to our Youth Empowerment Summit on November, 6th.

One of the happiest memories from my childhood was playing in the rain with my cousins and friends with no shoes on, wearing an oversized t-shirt in Honduras. As a young child, my parents were not present in my life. Instead, they cared for me from afar, in a long distance relationship. All I knew was that they were somewhere else beyond my reach, or at least it sounded too far away when I would talk to my mom over the phone. I knew that we were apart so that they could properly provide for me; however, now that I am living with my mom I know I would have been happier to see and hug her every day.

When the rain stopped, so did the game. I remember clearly that I had to say good-bye to my friends that day, friends who I loved and who shared my passion for mathematics. We were always competing in class, trying to see who could get that perfect score on the test. But now I was to leave on a journey with an unfamiliar man who was called a “coyote”. At such a young age, I could not fully grasp what this adventure was going to bring. All I understood was that I was going to see my mother again, and that was all I needed to know. I knew I could take on any math problem or any other struggle that life might possibly bring as long as I could embrace her once again.

As time passed, the journey became exhausting, even for the curious and courageous eight-year-old boy that I was. The coyote would say, “This time we’re going to make it, just be quiet and pray we don’t get caught.” It was not until the third time behind bars that the fear really set in. I was in a cell surrounded by strangers; my heart was racing and I felt as if my brain was going to explode. I was terrified. I wanted my mother more than anything, but this time, even more than my mom, I wanted freedom. Why was I being detained? I was just an innocent child who wanted to be reunited with my parents. Why were these people in green uniforms blocking the way for this wide-eyed little boy with a salty wet face who could barely eat the cold tortillas provided in the cell? I wanted to bury myself; I wanted to wake up in a different place, in a different life. On the fifth try, I finally made it through Guatemala and Mexico, and arrived at the border that brought so much happiness, yet so much fear. To me, it brought my beloved mother. It brought me dreams of a life and a future.

When I woke up from the terrible nightmare that was my journey to the United States, I soon realized that the challenges were not over. Although we are all created in the image of God, I was the alien sitting in Mrs. Jeanne’s fourth grade class. My favorite part of the day was the math lesson; it was the time of the day where I spoke the same language as everybody else. Sometimes I even spoke it a little bit better than the rest of my classmates. Yet, the other students spoke in such a different tongue. Why could I not understand them? I felt I had been freed from the walls and the bars just to be isolated in another world. I vowed this would never happen to me again. From that point on, school became my source of life, and education my freedom. In some of my classes I excelled and was labeled as “gifted” and in those subjects that proved to be more challenging, like English, I worked extra hard to succeed.

Now as a senior, I no longer feel like an alien, though politicians and many people still refer to me as one. The storm is not over yet, but I can already see the sun rising behind the dark clouds and it feels warm and soothing. Writing this essay in English, a language that at one point was foreign to me, gives me the feeling of success. It proves that I am capable of doing and overcoming anything; all that is necessary is knowledge and perseverance. Today, it is still fun to compete in class to get the best grades. It’s also fun to play in the rain, even though I am a bit older. Struggling to break a language barrier, and of course that other barrier – the border – has given me the determination to continue on with a higher education. I must pursue my dream of becoming a doctor so that I can be someone and live a prosperous life, an opportunity I never would have had in my native country.

Photo by J. Valas

As an ally, I am constantly reminded and try to be conscious of the privileges that being a citizen of this country affords me. One such privilege is my ability to vote. I was raised as a liberal Democrat in a household where I was expected to be engaged in the political process. However, I was never really motivated or inspired by a politician until I saw Barack Obama speak at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. As soon as his name came out as a possibility for the 2008 election, I jumped aboard the Obama train. I donated, organized at my college and in the community, registered voters and rocked a super cute Obama t-shirt. I cried election night and inauguration day, proud of our country for the direction it was taking and hopeful of the changes that I believed would happen.

Now two and a half years and counting after the victory, I am not just dissatisfied but utterly disappointed. I’m not one of those people who believed that Obama was going to be some miracle worker who could fix the entire country in one fell swoop. However, what has Obama done to help the immigrant population? Saying he supports the DREAM Act in a few speeches for vote pandering purposes is not sufficient.  When the DREAM Act was up for a vote this past year, it wasn’t Republicans that killed it but North Carolina’s own Democratic Senator Kay Hagan who cast that deciding vote. And now with the immigrant community living in more fear than ever with the onslaught of programs like Secure Communities and 287(g), deportations are on the rise. Obama and his party claim to only target criminals yet  Erick Velazquillo and countless others just like him are in deportation proceedings without the slightest criminal record. Obama and his party continue to view themselves as our allies when they have done nothing to deserve that title.

So, I’m sure you can imagine my anger and frustration when the NC DREAM Team received an email earlier this week from an Organizing for America volunteer asking us to help reelect the President. It is no secret that the Democrats are using the immigration debate to boost Latino votes this election season, and hoping that people like us will jump on the bandwagon. Even though Democrats have failed us time and time again, they still expect us to go door knocking for them using the same empty promises as before and the assumption that “hey, at least we’re better than the Republicans.” But until Democrats can prove that they are indeed our allies, they are no better than the Republicans. At least some of the Republicans are honest with us and wear their anti-immigrant sentiment on their sleeves.

This movement isn’t about political parties or electoral politics. It is about the empowerment of those most directly affected to be active and demand the change that they deserve. It is about people like Erick stepping up and fighting for his livelihood. It is about allies like myself learning to check their privilege and stand shoulder to shoulder with our undocumented brothers and sisters rather than just voting and crossing our fingers that whoever wins will do what’s right. That is the kind of hope I’m hanging on to these days.

The only way I can start this post is by asking you to sign the petition. Go on, sign it. This is something that’s just plain wrong.

HB 744 does something despicable: it attacks undocumented children. Before enrolling (which means we’re often talking about little, little kids), parents have to present school officials with information on the immigration status of the child. While the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Dale Folwell from Forsyth County, NC claims that it is meant for the sole purpose of determining the amount spent on undocumented youth, everybody knows this is meant to discourage children from being enrolled. It’s so obvious that even he let the cat out of the bag when he spoke to the Winston-Salem Journal:

Folwell said, however, that policies must change to prevent illegal immigrants from choosing North Carolina as their home.

“The main thing I want is to answer the question: What policies are there at the state level that are making North Carolina a magnet for illegal immigration?” Folwell said. “I want to demagnetize this state.”

This was the sixth time Folwell has introduced the bill in the four terms he has served in the state General Assembly.

The only way this bill would “demagnetize” the state is if it scares people away, making it pretty clear that Folwell is trying to find a way around Plyler v. Doe. Under Plyler, public school systems are required to educate students irrespective of their immigration status. The Department of Education and the Department of Justice sent out a strongly worded letter reminding state and local educational agencies of their obligation to educate everyone who walks into their classroom. Instead of trying to kick them out, Folwell and his gang of foamed-mouth restrictionists are trying to find a way to make sure they don’t walk in at all.

What makes this even more shameful is that the following day, NC Republicans read another “restrictionist” bill, HB 36, which expands the use of E-Verify in the state. However, while all of Folwell’s vitriol toward children counts as “getting tough” on immigration, supporters of HB 36 completely rolled over when it came time to get tough on farm labor. It’s easy to “get tough” on school children behind whom no moneyed interests lie, but when you might be looking for handouts from the farm lobby in just a few months’ time, your compassion can be bought.

If you haven’t signed the petition by now, please do. We need you here in the South.

Contact:
José Rico (919) 802-0508
dreamteamnc@gmail.com
ncdreamteam.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Cowards in the General Assembly Propose Bill Attacking Children
NC DREAM Team vows to stop the attacks on undocumented youth

RALEIGH, NC—Although not a single “restrictionist” bill in the General Assembly has addressed the biggest employers of undocumented immigrants in the state—state farms—several bills have attacked school children and college students. By proposing HB 744, a bill that would force students to reveal their status to school officials, North Carolina legislators are telling undocumented immigrants working and living in our state that they are good enough to pick its residents’ food, but not good enough to sit next to them in class.

“Our communities are under attack,” said Viridiana Martinez, an undocumented immigrant who has been an active fighter for immigrant rights. “We will expose this nasty bill and everyone behind it.”

Anti-immigrant groups frequently lament the 1982 Supreme Court decision of Plyler V. Doe, which protects the right of undocumented students to attend public education through high school. However, legislators in the segregationist South have begun to find new ways to direct their prejudice at school children. The Alabama State Senate passed a bill that would ban undocumented immigrants from attending extracurricular activities like prom and afterschool sports. NC Republicans also refused to make an exception in the Matricula Consular bill, HB 33, for educators to accept the Matricula to identify the parents of children at the school, both citizen and non-citizen.

Earlier this month, US Department of Education had to remind school districts of their obligation to provide an equal education to undocumented immigrant children. The DOE released a letter (co-signed by the Department of Justice) stating that “Recently, we have become aware of student enrollment practices that may chill or discourage the participation, or lead to the exclusion, or students based on their or their parents’ or guardians’ actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status. These practices contravene Federal law.”

Requiring children to register their immigration status with their schools will inevitably result in discrimination, harassment or exclusion. Plain and simple, the legislators who support these bills are unprincipled cowards.
###

By Alicia Torres

Upon the civil disobedience that took place last week in Indianapolis, Indiana, questions have arisen about whether such actions are necessary and responsible. The first thing that critics must remember is that deciding to participate in a civil disobedience action is a decision that is not taken lightly by either the participants or the organizers. As undocumented participants in a civil disobedience, you go in with the understanding that you are risking it all to gain it all. As organizers, you understand that the fate of the participants lay solely in your hands. Before a civil disobedience action is considered, there are natural steps that are taken-petitions, meetings, rallies, marches and the many other things that we as undocumented youth have done since 2001 in support of the DREAM Act. But when anti—immigrant bills are passed in your home state, there is an overnight sense of urgency that overflows your body. Suddenly petitions, rallies, and marches are not sufficient and local polititans start getting meaner and nastier. That was the case in Indiana.

Erick, Omar, Lupe, Paola and Sayra were arrested in Gov. Daniels’s office in protest of two immigration laws that passed in the state legislature: Senate Bill 590, which is similar to Arizona’s SB1070 and would make local police into de facto immigration agents; and HB1402, which would force undocumented Indiana students to pay out-of-state tuition rates which are triple the cost of in-state rates. The undocumented youth demanded a meeting with Daniels, which he denied. The Indiana civil disobedience was a response to the anti-immigrant sentiment that was about to be signed into law by Daniels. The Indiana undocumented community was and is in a state of urgency. I am not saying that petitioning, rallying and marching do not work because they do, but what I am saying and will stand behind is the fact that presently in our undocumented community there is an unprecedented urgency for survival.

When Arizona SB1070 copy cats are being introduced left and right and state participation in programs such as secure communities and 287g is becoming the norm we need to be ready not just to respond but to anticipate and counteract the anti-immigrant domino effect. To do this, we, the undocumented immigrant community, need to lose our fear and be ready to take the bull by its horns. So to the question of whether civil disobedience is necessary, my response is yes, because presently we are living in a continuous state of fear and with the feeling of the big man’s boot on our back.

Being undocumented is not just a status; it is a constant imposition of limitations on our lives. When you ask yourself: Am I we tired of living in fear? Am I tired of being oppressed? Am I ready to risk it all to gain self-liberation and you find yourself answering YES, then you will know that a civil disobedience is necessary. I am not advocating for you to go out and get arrested for a cause because there are definite consequences that need to be considered on an individual basis and responsible planning that must take place. What I am advocating is for people to think twice before they place judgment on civil disobedience actions and their organizers. As an undocumented person I do not want to see anybody get deported or put themselves in the line of fire and that is why my hat is off to those six undocumented students in Indiana who have showed us what courage looks like and what it means to be fighting for the right to a better life in this country that we call home. Thank you to the Indiana 6 and the Georgia 7; and to those of us around them lets be critical of our own personal judgment to civil disobedience participants and organizers.

By José T.

In this Carolina blue town it’s visibly graduation time. While it sure is a time of celebration, I can’t help but think that behind the smiles of more than one of these grads walking around is an undocumented youth thinking about what’s really next. Yes, for them the occasion is bitter sweet. It reminds me of my graduation at my university. It was hard. I had entered college in the fall of 2006 and I thought surely by graduation time the DREAM Act will have passed and I will be very happy, very accomplished, very secure and very ready for my next steps. Four years later the only thing I could think of, as I walked the stage, was that I was still very much undocumented. No kidding! I had successfully avoided all invitations to job fares my senior year and stopped buying ties and printing resumes. Perhaps the hardest thing on graduation day was hiding my anger, my disappointment, my frustration and insecurity from my family. I was determined not to ruin this day of pride for them. The truth was, though, I was really scared. I was scared of not having a real plan or the ability to get a paying job, other than the temporary dead end ones, without a social security number.

However, after a couple transformative moments after graduation, I reworked some of my thinking and set out to find a job… any job. But, if I was going to do this then I was going to do it on my own terms. I would let go of fear and be intentional in demanding recognition of my existence with every job opportunity. I resolved to be undocumented and unemployed. This meant I would have to learn how to drop the I-tin word on potential employers and still get hired. Yes, I know it’s really an acronym but deal with it!

And so my challenge began. Since then I’ve had several jobs, undocumented status disclosed, and have learned a few things about dropping the I-tin word. So if you are on the job hunt here are some of my suggestions. Enjoy.

Secure an interview. This is the most important thing for us because you can’t really let employers know how broken our immigration system is on a simple job application and expect them to take a leap of faith and hire you. So, securing an interview, no matter what kind of job it is, will put you in a much better position to drop the I-tin word. As a result, you will increase your chances of a job offer.

Have your ITIN on hand (here is what it is and how to get one). If needed, present it as the official document that it is.

In my experience, I usually wait towards the end of an interview, given that everything is going well, to bring up the “minor inconvenience” and explain that
it’s something that can be solved with some creative thinking from both sides.
Let them know you are more of an asset than a liability by telling them a little bit about your story from an angle of survival and highlighting your resourcefulness and critical thinking skills. Be prepared to challenge negative notions they have of undocumented people and let them know that as an immigrant youth you are just trying to survive. Reaffirm your ability and willingness to work hard.

Negotiate. This means negotiating responsibly and it is something you owe every dreamer out there because what you negotiate can set a precedent for what is
on the table for the hiring of other immigrant youth. Since you will most likely be hired as a contractor then you will most likely not be eligible for benefits such as health insurance through the company. Ask for this to be compensated with a higher pay rate.

Hold your ground. You will have to hold your ground and understand the worth of your skills as to not devalue your work. Remember, just because you only have
an ITIN does not mean you will be less of a value to the organization.

Show them a sample contract, timesheet, and check request form (usually used by companies doing contract work for a project). This can go a long way in
explaining how it can all work.

Be ahead of them and go in prepared with answers to potential questions they may have, such as, how an ITIN works, who normally uses it and what type of
identification you have.

If the employer still seems a bit hesitant after you have dropped the I-tin word, then shift your tactic and ask for an opportunity for a part time position with the possibility of full time down the road. This allows a trial period for both sides. Your employer can see that an ITIN number works just as good in their books and you can get a better feel for the support you will actually get from them.

Have references of others who have hired you and can lend credibility to what you are saying. This will ease some anxiety from that employer.

Be confident, tap into your networks (especially the active immigrant youth networks) and be willing to ask for the job! While some dreamers have

specifically been approached for an interview without even asking, this will not necessarily be the norm, though, this should let you know that it can be a very good side of being active within the immigrant youth movement.

Prospective employers could be all around you so zone in on job possibilities. Take notice of who is around you and understand that every interaction is a job interview.

Get an idea and feeling for job opportunities by researching what other dreamers are doing for work. I know more than one who is hired and actually gets benefits!

Take a well prepared resume highlighting the skills you have learned through organizing in the immigrant youth movement or whatever else you have been
involved in.

Research the company/ organization and prepare leading questions to give you an idea of the politics of the org.

Figure out who ultimately makes the hiring decision. If the person sitting across from you is pushing back even though they have indicated that you would be
great, then chances are that person isn’t calling the shots and doesn’t have the power to give you the green light. If you really want that job then keep an eye out for who does have this power and go for it.

Make sure you are getting paid. If you do get hired but your employer is not paying you the accorded amount then take it to the court system! You can do this
all yourself and legal status does not matter. Stay tuned for a blog on how to do this.

Be prepared for rejection. Not everyone will be willing to meet you half way. At the end of the day it will be more their loss than yours so move on.

The following are some paying jobs I’ve had (legal status disclosed):
 
•         Camp Counselor (first aid and CPR trained)
•         Assistant Director for a summer camp
•         Program Manager for a year round leadership program
•         Office cleaner

•         Gas Station attendant and cashier (right after graduation)
•         Pizza boy (hated my boss but I got free pizza)
•         Other random jobs I found on craigslist (all legit ones)  
•         Resource Specialist (Current job)

 
 
For my part, once I went on the job hunt full force, I did some cold calls, looked through craigslist ads, and made some on the spot visits to turn in resumes and applications. I was patient and always looked out for any potential job. When I heard of one, I was prepared to go talk to hiring management on the spot, lined up a few interviews and went for it. At every interview, from the pizza job to the office assistant one, I was upfront and cautiously but confidently dropped the I-tin word. I found that the beginning of interviews went well but I would be very nervous about the ITIN part.
I knew that it was going to come up. So before they brought it up I decided I would beat them to it. As interviews would come to an end I would recap my desire to work for them and reaffirmed that I would work very hard. I also let them know I had a minor “inconvenience” but that it could be solved with some creative thinking from both ends. By this point I could always tell they were intrigued and that’s when I knew it was the right moment to drop the I-tin word on them. At the end of a couple months and while being heavily involved in the fight for the DREAM Act I had two job offers!

I know that this is not an ideal situation for us as undocumented youth to go through. I must say that when our supposed “friends”, the democrats, killed the DREAM Act I was really upset but I also learned an important lesson that December. I learned that while legislation will always be important to win, most of our fight is in demanding respect and opportunities to survive in our everyday lives where it matters most. I learned that in the absence of legislation we will have to change the status quo on the ground one person at a time, if need be. This is our home and making it work here with what we have is part of our challenge. So, in this spirit, everyday is an opportunity to challenge expectations and when it comes to getting hired, our generation of immigrants has been
doing it for decades.

Catherine Orr, a North Carolina-based documentarian, will be screening her film “Dreams Delayed” tonight, May 4 in Carroll Hall (room 305) at UNC Chapel Hill. The film will discuss the lives of undocumented immigrants, educators and those affected by both immigration policy and a lack of access to education. Our own Jose Rico will be featured in the film and joining the conversation afterward.

Preview:

Go here for the Facebook event.

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