The Heart of Full Disclosure

December 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

By Yumna Mohamed

Gabriel is a 24-year-old New Yorker who has just recently made the transition from being an undocumented immigrant to applying for legal residency. Tune in to hear Gabriel’s story.

Every day, Gabriel, 24, is faced with the challenge of articulating his identity, guarding himself and carefully choosing to whom he reveals himself and when. To put it another way, he inhabits more than one closet.

For 17 years, Gabriel lived in the United States as an undocumented immigrant. He also is gay.

“My undocumented status had a large impact on my upbringing,” says Gabriel, who moved here from Quito, Ecuador with his parents when he was seven.

“Without my papers, I felt like I was trapped in a box. I could see everything outside of it and I wanted to access it but couldn’t and I just wanted to get out of it,” he says.

This year, his uncle was able to sponsor Gabriel and his family’s application for legal residency. As his mother’s brother, Gabriel’s uncle, who is a U.S. citizen, is able to sponsor his immediate relatives’ application for an “adjustment of status,” which will hopefully lead to permanent residency and eventual citizenship. In the meantime, Gabriel has finally been able to get a state ID, Social Security number and work permit.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisement

Undocumented Dreamer

December 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

By Alessandra Potenza

In October 2010, Angy Rivera, now 21, an undocumented student and core member of the New York State Youth Leadership Council (NYSLYC), began writing an online column named “Ask Angy,” a place for undocumented youth to share their experiences and ask for help.

“What is the point of me trying so hard to make it through college when my diploma is not even going to be worth it?” asked Cat, an undocumented college sophomore, after she had to reveal her illegal status to explain to her school why she couldn’t get a student loan.

Sam, another undocumented youth who had problems finding a stable job because of his status, asked Angy whether he should stay in the United States or leave the country to fulfill himself. “The recent failure to pass the federal DREAM Act has made me realize that even though I love the U.S. Maybe I am not destined to be here,” he wrote in September 2011.

The “Ask Angy” column is the virtual alter ego of who Rivera is in real life: a source of comfort and inspiration for undocumented youth who have fears or are confused about their opportunities and limits.

“I try to provide that support they need, because I was once in their shoes, feeling like I was alone and there was nobody out there,” she said.

Rivera is one of a growing number of undocumented students coming out and actively helping others to do the same. She came here illegally from Colombia when she was 3. As an activist in the NYSYLC, Rivera supports the passage of the New York Dream Act and helps others cope with the struggles of being undocumented.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with New York State Youth Leadership Council at CUJ Immigration Stories.