To All My Undocumented Immigrant Dads

Happy father’s day daddy. I will never stop fighting for you and other dads alike. Feliz día del padre, papi. Nunca voy a parar de luchar por ti y otros padres como tú. 

This piece is very important to me because it honors the struggle of undocumented parents, specifically my dad. 

Two weeks after I graduated from college, I was offered a couple of job positions. My dad has always been proud of me but that day, was different. I told him what I was offered and I had choices to make. What he said next will forever stay with me for the rest of my life. 

After I told him how much I would make he said, “mija eso es lo que yo gano.” (honey that’s what I make.) “No you don’t, you make more?” I replied shocked. “No mija.” 
Después de decirle lo que iba a ganar, el me dijo, “hija, es lo que yo gano. “No cierto, tú ganas más?” Le conteste porque no le pude creer. “No mija.” 

I would be making the same amount at an entry level job that my dad makes after having worked at a company for 12 years. 

12 years. I think about this a lot while I am at work, and whenever I write. I think about the kind of courage and strength someone it takes to work tirelessy provide for a family in a country that continues to deny their right to be in this country. 

I also think about how unjust and inhumane it is to force families like mine to live these realities, and not acknowledge our contributions. In Utah alone, “unauthorized” or undocumented workers make up 5% of the workforce. That means 1 in 20 workers are undocumented, who on average have lived in the United States 13-16 years. 

Dad, you came to the United States more than 16 years ago with only two things, lucha (fight) and esperanza (hope). You came because you wanted a better life for me. You came so I could receive the formal education, an opportunity you did not have.  

My mom reminds me how sad I became when my dad came to the US and when our family was separated. I can only imagine the sadness that comes when parents are deported and sent back to a country that they have not lived in for decades. 

To those parents and guardians who were deported, thank you for your strength. To those living in fear of deportation, we will keep fighting to keep families like yours and mine together. 

This is for the dads (moms, and guardians) who crossed the border so their children had the chance for something greater. Today while we celebrate father’s day, we know they have not done it alone. This is for those who risked their lives because their home country did not have the opportunities for their families and now have made home in the United States. Thank you. 

On June 15th, as we celebrated the five year anniversary of DACA 2012, we were reminded of the journey that remains. DAPA and extended DACA were rescinded from the Trump Administration, officially ending the possibility of the program. This program would have helped millions of dads, including some family members. However, it would not have benefited dad’s like mine. It would not have helped the dads of undocumented young people like mine or those without kids. This program would have meant a lot to our community, however, it would not have been enough. We will continue to fight for immigration reform for all of our community, not just select few. 

Happy father’s day dad. Thank you daddy for everything you taught me, even when you had no idea you were. Thank you for letting me see that we deserve to be treated better as immigrants, as undocumented immigrants. I will never stop fighting for you, or parents like you. 

(Version en español)

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