I am an undocumented immigrant living in the age of Trump. In 1998, I was brought to the United States from Portugal at the age of 10 months. I grew up mostly oblivious to the fact that I was undocumented, that I didn’t have the papers necessary to live a normal life.
I remember that the parents of my friends would drive to places all the time, but mine would avoid driving as much as possible. Other families would fly out to vacations while we would forego vacations altogether. But I didn’t know why.
As a young child, my parents would often mention that we were ilegais, but at first I was unable to grasp the impact this word would have on my life. Sometimes people would call my father an “illegal”, using it as a slur towards him. They would use his immigration status to gain an advantage over him, especially when he first started working as a mason. Sometimes I wouldn’t see my father for weeks, as he had to work long hours and long distances away from home for a subsistence wage. I worried for him, my mother and for my own future.
I always feared of what would become of my life. I worried whether I would ever be allowed to drive, I worried that I might never get a job or have the opportunity to finish high school. Those were all pervasive thoughts in my 13-year-old mind. Fortunately, in 2012, President Barack Obama took executive action, signing a memorandum that granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (Daca).
Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd