In honor of Asian Pacific American (APA) Heritage Month, SAALT is showcasing six interviews with South Asian “DACAmented” individuals. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is a 2012 policy directive that provides undocumented youth with temporary relief from deportation for a period of two-years at a time, during which they are eligible to work. Unfortunately, DACA does not provide a green card or pathway to citizenship—it is temporary. These DACAmented individuals are sharing their stories to spread the word about DACA so that additional eligible, undocumented individuals might apply. SAALT also hopes these compelling interviews can serve to underline the need for comprehensive immigration reform and motivate South Asians nationwide to advocate for change.
In November 2010, my sophomore year at University of Texas-Austin, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers raided our home in Houston and placed my parents in detention. That’s when I learned that our attorney never filed our appeal after my parents’ asylum case was denied; we were out of status. I didn’t realize until that moment that we were undocumented. We did everything we were supposed to do, but it wasn’t enough. Read Full Story
I refuse to apologize for who I am or for my life experiences. I refuse to let my lack of privilege wear me down. I refuse to let politics and the government get between me and my happiness. I choose to be happy and move forward with love. Read Full Story
I have realized through my work on behalf of immigrant rights that the divisiveness within our cultures and communities and the stereotypes we have against one another only operate against us in the long run. We need to learn to trust each other, work together, and support one another because the issues for which we are fighting affect us all. We all deserve to live with dignity and respect, regardless of our immigration status. Read Full Story
My father’s tourist visa expired while he was waiting for his employment visa: he ‘overstayed’ eight days. Those eight days stood between my family having immigration papers in the U.S. and living a life of perpetual uncertainty as undocumented individuals. Read Full Story
Even though I always knew that we struggled, I did not realize the full extent of our struggle or what it would mean for my future. I had worked so hard to do well in school; yet without knowing it, I had set myself up for disappointment. Regardless of my academic excellence and drive, I faced barriers beyond my control that would not allow me to succeed in the ways I wanted. Read Full Story
My brother and I could not even be comforted knowing that our parents were together because they were not. My family had been torn apart across three separate countries, with my mother in India, my father in Bangladesh and me and my brother in the U.S. Read Full Story