It was a cold October night and I had just come from school. The house was silent. And the only sound came from children playing and laughing outside. As I enter my house I could see my family was gathering around someone. One of my uncles came up to me and told me that my grandmother passed away.
And that’s when I saw my mother covering her face; her legs and arms curl as if she just wanted to disappear crying out loud “mami, mami,” “where is my mother, I want to see my mother”
It was the first time I ever seen my mother cried. She has always tried to hide tears even when I was young. I felt so helpless to my mother. I couldn’t comfort her because all she wanted was her mother. And I was just her son.
It was there that I realize all the sacrifices my mother has done to give me a better future. She gave up her youth to work hard and now her body aches. She left her home to a place that deems her a criminal. She left her mother who she loved since she was a little girl.
I can’t say how much I love you, but I know its there.
When I was young I dreamed of the day I could come home crying to you after getting bullied. But you were always working. I became distant, unable to show you the love that you deserve from a son. Because of that I never notices your pain.
I can cope with the fact that I can’t do all of the things I want to do because of my lack of status, but I cannot accept that fact that my mother can’t say goodbye to her mother.
My mother hasn’t seen her mother in 17 years, and it is because of these stupid laws that make her choose between her family and her mother.
She has been waiting for ten years to get her papers. For ten years she held her tears to go home and see her mother once again.
I remember the times my mother calling her to tell her about her day, how her grandsons are achieving and how she misses home. And when the time came and she needed to go back to her to say goodbye, she couldn’t because of these laws that don’t consider human reasoning.
And that is why Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is not enough. Deferred action forgets about our parents and those who don’t qualify for it. It is not enough.
So I ask everyone to reclaim being undocumented, because the fight is not over.
Caiden is an undocumented organizer with IYJL. He spoke at Chicago’s National Coming Out of the Shadows day on March 10th, 2013.