Tag Archives: immigration

On the Merit of Blurred Lines

by Surabhi Nirkhe, ’13

I am tired of discourse that divides brown from white, the oppressed from the oppressors, students of color from white students, and the underprivileged from the privileged. Tracing and retracing these lines prevents us from creating identities that are much more complex, often in the spaces where these lines blur.

In her recent STATIC article, Holly Fetter ended with a powerful statement that resonated with me: “unless we confront our fears and make active changes to educate ourselves about the perspectives and experiences of those in other communities, we’ll never be able to see past the illusion of isolation”. To me, the recent mixer held between Sanskriti, the South Asian student organization, and the Stanford Israel Alliance represents just that. I did not attend the mixer, but I have been a part of similar events at Stanford, and I can honestly say that experiences which have pushed me to interact with individuals from outside my community have been some of the most valuable.

I do not mean to say that I don’t hold opinions; I do and I hold on to them very strongly. Continue reading

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Border Roads

by Nina Foushee, ’15 

This poem is based on a time this past summer when I was driving on the dirt roads around Rio Rico, Arizona with a couple who live there and work regularly with immigrants. They told me that if you hit a cow and kill it, the expectation is that you reimburse the rancher to whom the cow belonged. The price of a cow’s body, as determined by its weight, made me think about the kind of concern we have for any living entity once we are tied to its economic impact. It also made me think about the fact that, working on the border for a summer, I encountered some ranchers for whom the life of a cows really did seem to hold a more pressing importance than the life of a migrant crosser.

Border Roads

We drive slowly because
if you kill a cow
you pay by the pound. Continue reading

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Nepantlera

by Aracely Mondragon, ’13

"Nepantlera" – Celia Herrera Rodriguez

quedan 4 minutos con 36 segundos en esta llamada

The process of calling my ‘ama
Acaso no vivo en esa llamada?
esperando desde el otro lado
viviendo en mi fantasía
que tengo alas y vuelo
muy pero muy cerca del sol
adonde abro mis colores
que bailo
con la mujer de libertad
prentendiendola
hasta cruzar su mirada
y otras más frías
hay a quienes
les molesta
todo mi revoloteo
me quieren enjaular
convertir mi jardin en invierno
y cuando eso pasa
solo sueño
que vuelo sur
y allí vuelvo a nacer Continue reading

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We are workers, we are not slaves!

by Adrian Bonifacio, ’13

The skyline of Hong Kong reads like an issue of Fortune 500. Samsung, HSBC, Phillips, Hitachi, COSCO—their buildings reach out from the bay as if to form the fingers of the capitalist invisible hand, now made so conspicuous by its flashing neon lights. Thanks to the boom in its economy after WWII, and especially after the 1980s transition into a largely service-based economy, Hong Kong has become one of the richest regions in all of Asia. But, as with many other developed capitalist economies, the United States far from excluded, inequality runs rampant. An article  published earlier this year exposes the literal cages some citizens are forced to live in. The article reminds us that poverty and desperation can be easily hidden from our consciousness by a high-figured GDP. In this way, the stories of another “imprisoned” population living within Hong Kong are also absent from our fields of vision: those of migrant domestic workers.

I shared my life with Filipina domestic workers for just under three months this past summer—singing, learning, laughing, rallying, dancing, picketing, and of course, eating. But the majority of the time I spent with them was spent being humbled. Continue reading

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Collective Healing

by Aracely Mondragon, ’13

“Chicana Birth” by Irene Jor, ’13

My name is Aracely Mondragon and I am…

I am stories
Of arduous walks
Across a cruel and thieving desert
Of being smuggled in a stereobox
Holding your breath
Praying to the virgencita

I am fetters
On my parent’s wrists and necks
That keep them immobile
Their humanity defined
In terms of legality Continue reading

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Stop Polo’s Deportation

by Mary Glen Frederick, ’12

I am writing with a very pressing need. I need your help to protect a family and draw attention to a horrible violation of human rights.

About a week and a half ago Polo, a man we know, was taken into custody for a traffic violation. Polo is undocumented, and has been deported once before. He was picked up by ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on Thursday, and is facing deportation in the next couple of days. Polo has been in the US for 18 years, started his own business, employs and supports many others, has two young daughters, and needs to stay in this country! PLEASE sign this petition to stop Polo’s deportation, and help protect Polo and his family.

http://www.change.org/petitions/immigration-and-customs-enforcement-stop-the-deportation-of-leopoldo-serrano-salto-to-mexico#

And read this blog post (written by my awesome Mom!) to know more about Polo’s story.
http://herestothevillage.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-invisible-lives-we-do-not-see.html (You can read the entire post below).

PLEASE sign the petition and spread the word! ICE acts in a cloak of silence and invisibility, but if there is enough attention around Polo and his family, they could be spared. Our current system is broken, and countless families are suffering as a result.

Thank you so much for your help and support.  Continue reading
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John Morton: Stop the Deportations

by Sharada Jambulapati, ’12, Aracely Mondragon, ’13 + Holly Fetter, ’13


Today, John Morton is the keynote speaker at the Stanford Law School’s 2nd Annual Immigration Compliance Symposium. This man is the Director of ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), the government agency responsible for arresting, detaining, and deporting thousands of immigrants a year.

Since Obama took office, ICE has deported 1.2 million immigrants. That’s more than any other president, including George W. Bush. Imagine that the entire population of Bush’s current hometown, Dallas, Texas, was forcibly removed from this country. 1.2 million people, gone.

This isn’t an issue of abstract, criminal bodies crossing borders. This is about real lives being destroyed by bureaucrats like John Morton.

It’s about families being separated, children being left behind while their parents are sent back to their country of origin. In the first half of 2011, the federal government removed over 46,000 mothers and fathers of U.S.-citizen children. Continue reading

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Refuge in Visibility

by Fermín Mendoza, ’11

My name is Fermín and I am a queer, undocumented Stanford graduate surviving in a society hostile to my kind. I decided to start this vlog for several reasons. Above all, the death of Joaquín Luna, an undocumented high school student from Texas who committed suicide in late 2011, left me shaken and ultimately inspired me to start making videos. When I first was coming out to my family as queer, I gained strength and wisdom from other queer men’s vlogs on YouTube as they discussed their own struggles. I hope that this vlog will serve as a resource for other undocumented youth who do not have immediate access to supportive communities. I also hope to educate documented people about issues they may have never considered would come up for undocumented youth in our daily lives. Lastly, making these videos is a form of reclaiming my own dignity and existence in a society and media world that so often belittle and ignore both.

Watch Fermín’s latest video here:

Continue reading

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Crimmigration: The Wrongful Criminalization and Deportation Pipeline of Immigrants

by Sharada Jambulapati, ’12

Three years of investigation by the Department of Justice have finally proven what most people knew about America’s toughest sheriff.  In a 22-page report, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was found to have racially profiled Latinos, denied adequate care to inmates, and mismanaged law enforcement training.  In response to the evidence, Arpaio simply stated, “we are proud of the work we have done to fight illegal immigration.”

In immigration debates, politicians are quick to use the term illegal when justifying harsh, contradictory measures that compromise civil liberties.  The polarizing word generates a criminal stereotype and erroneously implies that an immigrant constantly breaks the law.  Continued use of isolating words has had an apparent effect on public opinion.  In a 2000 national survey, 73% of Americans believed that immigrants were linked to increased crime.

However, the societal perceptions of immigrants do not reflect the actual data regarding immigration and crime correlations. Continue reading

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Progressive Poetry

by Aracely Mondragon, ’13

Just an Anchor (When My Eyes Meet Yours)

I found myself a rising Sophomore at Stanford University hearing talks of a Birthright Citizenship Act that would eliminate birthright to children born of undocumented immigrants. Here I was, being called an anchor baby… my friends… anchor babies, my cousins… anchor babies… but were we? After years of struggling to reconcile my parent’s notion of the American Dream and the harsh reality of a broken immigration system… I decided not to be defeated, I decided to move forward and here I stand like many others at an elite institution trying to give back to this place I call home.

As I lay in a crowded bed, next to my brothers and sisters
Looking out at the sky with wishful, hopeful eyes
You look down on me, a pest
You say I am just an anchor
And that you do not want me here
As I sit in a wooden desk, thinking how I could be so lucky
Looking toward the front of the lecture hall through eager, determined eyes
You look down on me, a nuisance
And tell me I am just an anchor
And that you do not want me here
Continue reading

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