El Random Hero: January 2009 Archives

"The Arrival"

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The Arrival
I'm a passionate reader of comic books, if it that wasn't obvious from my last post. A lot of the books I read relate to personal experiences I have lived through as an undocumented resident. The last book I bought is hard to describe if you haven't seen it, "The Arrival," by Shan Tan. When I first heard about the book I was immediately intriged because the book is complely wordless, it's 128 of beautiful pictures that will amaze and draw you in to the story. "The Arrival" is about the immigrant experience, the ideas, emotions and tribulations involved in moving to another country. 

The Ultimate Immigrant

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Part of my assimilation when I firrst came to the U.S. came through comic books. I still love those same characters I saw on t.v. and read in books. The idea of having superpowers and unfanthomable abilities was something that has always facinated me to this day. It's only now that I realize how powerful comics and its characters can be.  

Take for example Superman, the ultimate immigrant.

Every day is the same. An endless routine that never ends no matter how bad you want it to. You're stuck in eternal purgatory because of a decision your parents made for you when you were only seven years old. Too young to understand what's going on, but old enough to know that things would never be the same again. 

For the last 16 years of your life, you've adapted and embraced your adopted country, assimilating and succeeding in spite of all of the daily hardships that you have to overcome. You ask your parents why they decided to bring you to the U.S. and it's always the same answer, "Te queriamos dar las oportunidades que nosotros nunca teniamos," but that isn't enough. It's never enough. Good intentions have led to some of the most horrific atrocities in human history, but you can't blame them.  After all, they're your parents. 

Growing up in the shadows, you learn to adapt, to hide your true identity like a costumed super hero. No one can ever know the real you because you don't know how they'll react. All you want to do is be another regular person, but eventually you realize that you're not. You excel in your studies and take advantage of the system, fulfilling the destiny your parents laid out for you.


Gana la Verde

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With the new year here, I always look back to the past and thank God everyday that even though I'm not where I want to be yet, at least I'm not where I use to be. Thinking back that far I remembered something that at the time didn't seem like a big deal to me, but looking back on it now, I still can't believe it. 

Back in 2004 there was a show called "Gana la Verde," a fear factor inspired show that pitted contestants in physical challenges all so the winner can have an opportunity win a green card. This show captivated its audience as soon as it hit the air. The show was offering people a chance to become legal residents, what every undocumented resident dreams of for their families.

People have traversed through all kinds of dangers to get into the U.S. so doing some crazy stunt and eating strange food for that dream is a piece of cake for us. My father was one of the contestants for the show before it got cancelled. At the time I didn't think much of it, he was going to be on t.v. and we would tape it at hope and get a good laugh. See back in those times, I was at my most apathic. I wasn't going to school, working or anything. 

My days consisted of getting up late, eating, watching t.v. and playing video games all day. Coming outta high school and knowing that all of the worlds doors are closed to me instilled hate and rage in me soo deep that even to this day, it's still there despite the huge improvements I have made in my life. It's always going to be there as a reminder of what I cannot be, another regular person. 

In the show my father had to ride on top of a small airplane and grab flags from each of the wings as quickly as possible. He made it to the second round in which he had to eat raw craw fish. He made it to the third round and I can't remember what he did, but in the end he lost and came in second place. After the show we learned that the prize is help in adjusting the winners legal status with the help of a law firm for a year. 

The winner, which was a woman, ended up selling her prize to my dad for a few hundred dollars because she was already in the process of legally immigrating, winning the game only expedited the process. My father snatched up the contract and hoped that this would be his chance to finally become a legal resident. The layers did their job, they helped my dad get on track in becoming a legal resident through sibling sponsorship. 

The contract with them covered all the fees that go along with the applications and that was it. That was as far as he could go. That's when he realized that he could help me adjust my status as well just like they helped him. We went to meet with the layers at their Beverly Hills office to discuss my situation and what can be done about it. 

After answering a set of questions about that helped them narrow down what my options for legally immigrating were. One that day I learned that no matter what I did, it was all futile and pointless. I had no family member to sponsor me, no unique trade skill that would merit an employer sponsoring me or a girlfriend that would marry me, I had no options available and it pissed me the fuck off. 

I still remember the vile taste of hate I felt when I realized that the world I know is closed off to me because I was born somewhere else and because my parents in their foolishness never thought about what kind of future I would have in the U.S. I think back on those times and I realize how much we, as immigrants, sacrifice and live through only to be told your not eligible. 

My father risked his life getting on that stupid ass plane for that stunt and gave me the prize he bought so i could have a chance to adjust my status. I may have my issues about my father and don't blame him anymore for some of the things he put our family through, after all we're all human and we all make mistakes. 

He's so desperate to become a legal resident that he'll jump through any hoop just to have that chance. That's how bad some of us want it. Looking back on it now I see it differently than I did back then, but I see it as my father doing what he's always been doing, trying to give his family the best life a man can possibly can. 

No one can ever take that way from him or anyone else for that matter. We may not have much, but at least we have some dignity, which is more than I can say for people who criticize undocumented residents.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by El Random Hero in January 2009.

El Random Hero: December 2008 is the previous archive.

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