Under DACA | Carlos Castro-Miranda
On October 21, 2017 I had to go to the 41st Street Immigration Center to get fingerprinted for the final renewal of my work permit under DACA.
On September 5, 2017, 45th announced the end of the DACA program that was enacted by the Obama Administration in 2012.
Unlike the failed passing of the Dream Act in 2012, the end of DACA was not surprising for me. After decades of the american government failing to keep their promises on immigration reform and a myriad of other issues I was not surprised. I was bitter, angry, and surprisingly full of gratitude because I could renew my work permit until 2019. Unlike the thousands of DACA recipients who were not able to renew their work permits my worse case scenario was put on hold for another two years.
Strangely enough I was glad 45th ended the programs because it meant Congress had a time limit to pass immigration reform. Either it would pass or it would not pass. For me it would provide an answer to a question that I’ve been struggling with for the last sixteen years.
Should I stay in the United States?
After sixteen years of getting my hopes up just to have them dashed at every moment that could turn the tables, do I want to stay in a country where the government views me as a criminal? A country that has instigated political and economic instability and terrorism in my home country and around the world.
For once I’m not floating in a grey area and living on false hope. A new chapter in my life can unfold. A chapter where I can finally set long term plans without having to think in the back of my mind that it can all be taken away by wrinkly white bastards in DC. For the first time in sixteen years I had come to terms with leaving the United States and it felt liberating.
Ever since 45th’s election I felt stressed and frustrated at every step of my life. When your everyday reality is a hateful and ignorant president numbering your days in the country you grew up in, you get on edge. At my job I kept questioning my presence and thinking “what was the point?” I may not be able to work here past February 18, 2018. In my romantic relationships with American born men or men with papers I questioned whether I was in the relationships for love or for a potential marriage that could change my immigration status.
Bitterness and resentment entered my friendships because unlike my friends, I couldn’t tune out the politics. All my friends could continue to keep going to brunch, drag shows, and parties without thinking about having to find a job in a foreign country they did not know. Worse yet was when I realized that LGBTQIA people in Honduras are not afforded the same liberties as LGBTQIA in the USA. Immediately I was brought back to my in-the-closet days when I had to modify every single aspect of my personality to keep the gay bashing at bay. The negative thoughts kept piling on and there was no end in sight.
Suddenly I’m back to 2012 when the Dream Act failed to pass. Fresh outta high school going into college with zero clue of how to pay for it and what to do afterwards. The only thing left to do is to keep going ahead with patience and determination. Life has been pulling out the rug from beneath my feet for ever and she will continue to pull the rug beneath my feet until the day I die. This feeling is no different, but I am.
I have grown and achieved things that I never thought would be possible. I have found community among my friends and in organizations that fight for immigrant rights (shoutout to Juntos). Dwelling for too long leaves me paralyzed and unable to act and that is just what the xenophobic bastards who all of us to fail want.
I will not support an immigration deal that throws 11 million undocumented persons under the bus just so I can have a work permit and a path to citizenship in twelve years. Meanwhile, the border becomes militarized and millions of immigrants within the country face persecution and imprisonment everyday of their lives. I will not continue to eat the breadcrumbs of false hope, like DACA, that the government keeps passing off as saving graces. DACA was not a saving grace. If it was, a path to citizenship would have been offered.