What exactly is DACA? I actually mean it metaphorically. We all know what DACA stands for, it has been on the news everyday for weeks. If you look at this government website you will get all the information you need, I think, so here is the site http://www.uscis.gov/
DACA stands for “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.” Meaning that at some point in time, maybe many years ago children came here, illegally with an adult, and now want to stay. At some point they were given a stay of execution, meaning they wouldn’t be sent back to there birth nation, and now their time is up, and deportation is towering over them.
I know there are many other factors but, basically this is their story in a nut shell. One side of the political bowling alley wants to send these grown adults back, right now, to their birth nation despite living in the US for their whole childhood, while the other side of the bowling alley wants to give them all amnesty and let them all stay here forever.
Do I have it right? I will have my say, as it is my blog, and I will tell you I don’t agree with either. I think that they should be given the opportunity to apply for citizenship just like any other person who wishes to become an American.
Many of these DACA folks have spent most, if not all of their childhood, and young adult life in the US. Why send them somewhere they have never been? I will admit that I can relate to this as I am Canadian born with American parents.
Both my parents were born in the states and went to Canada to live with my grandparents after the war as times were hard. I was born in Windsor, Ontario, and lived there one year as a tiny infant until my father got a job and we returned to the states.
All my life I heard that I had dual citizenship. Because of being born in Canada, I was a Canadian, and because of my parents being born in the states, I was an American.
When I was fourteen I got my social security card and worked my whole life paying taxes, and paying into the social security program. Never in all of my fifty six years ( that was my age when my adventure began) did anyone ask me for proof of my citizenship. When I took some college courses they asked if I was a citizen, I always answered yes because that is what I believed, and explained that it was garnered through my parents. I got my college loans and never had any problems.
That is until I applied to nursing school, got accepted, and then checked on my financial aide. I had to have financial aid to go to school. I needed to support myself and my sixteen year old son. The school aide office refused to give me my financial aide without PROOF of my citizenship.
I’ve never had proof of citizenship my whole life. It was inferred. It was told to me since infancy that I was a citizen. But, without proof, without the correct paperwork, the school would not release the financial aide that I had already been awarded.
Let me tell you it was a nightmare especially since I had already gone through the nightmare of cancer treatment while getting my final required classes for nursing school. Now they were saying that I couldn’t get my money unless I had proof of citizenship. I walked out of that office in tears. My adviser agreeing that ” yes indeed, I would have to get proof as it was a requirement of the school.”
I was in a state of shock. How does one go about getting proof of citizenship when all your elder family members, who knew anything about your history, are deceased along with your parents.
I was freaking out. Thank god for the internet. I found the nearest immigration office and made a trip to Kansas City to find out what I needed to get proof of my citizenship. I hate talking to machines or listening to a voice recorder. I needed a real person.
The guy at the INS office could not believe that I did not have a “green card” and kept saying ” your parents didn’t get you a green card” or maybe it was a yellow card. Anyway, I thought he was going to send me back to Canada right then and there. I felt what all immigrants feel when they are being challenged by a powerful person. FEAR.
I explained to him my story. My forty some years of faithful employment. My forty some years of paying my taxes. My forty some years of paying into the social security program. And, my shock that no one until this moment had ever brought up my citizenship. Definitely not the government as they were taking my money. He was not amused.
The forms he gave me were crazy. I mean it. I had to collect my parents birth certificate, their marriage license, their death certificates, and my birth certificate. And then return with $350 to complete the process.
I will say I was ready to throw in the towel and return to Canada. I would have but, I was frightened of what they would say since I had lived in the US, and worked my whole life here. Not really. I did not want to return to my birth nation. I loved it here.
It was a good thing that I was still almost bald from my chemo because I was pulling at the stubs of hair in dismay, lost as how to find out all the information I needed when I didn’t have my parents social securities numbers, or even their correct date of birth. We didn’t talk age when I was growing up. I knew the month and day of birthdays, just not the years of anything.
If stress causes cancer my body was in a full blown mutant state because I was freaking out. I had less then six months to get all the required documents, plus my citizenship papers, so the school would release my financial aide before my nursing classes were to begin.
I will tell you that when I was diagnosed with cancer the one thing that kept me going, the one light at the end of the tunnel of treatments, was getting into nursing school. I could not let anything get in my way.
Thanks to the most wonderful person at the Manhattan office of social security who helped me find my father’s social security number I was able to get a copy of my father’s birth certificate. Without it I would have hit a very impassable wall. The only thing I knew was that he was born in Illinois. What she did was not ‘ standard” but she knew I had been through a war camp of treatments, and felt that I had the right to the information. I will always be in her debt.
Once the process began I was finally able to accumulate all the required documents needed except for my own birth certificate. That had not come and it was the end of June. I knew that it was getting almost too late to get all my ducks in a row to collect my financial aide, and without it I would not be able to go to school.
Someone once said to me that I expect too much. I do. I also will go to great lengths to not let things get in my way. So, with that mind set I drove sixteen and a half hours one way, sleeping in my car overnight on the way to Thunder Bay Ontario, to collect a copy of my birth certificate. That was the address listed on the request forms.
I will whine a little here and say none of my family, meaning my children, would make the trip with me. Here I was just fresh out of school from getting my prerequisites as well as recovering from cancer treatment, and I had to go it alone. Over a thousand miles one way. The trip was a very lonely adventure. But, like I said, I will go to great lengths, and I did.
If you ever get a chance to go to Thunder Bay, Ontario, go, here is their website http://www.thunderbay.ca/. It is a beautiful place with North America’s largest amethyst mine. I did get a chance to go and it was great fun. If you’ve read my earlier blogs, you know gem hunting is my very favorite past time. They also have a large park that has what they call little Niagara Falls. It too is beautiful. Lots to see on the way. It was too bad it wasn’t a time to travel and enjoy. I was on a mission.
When I got to Thunder Bay I went and crashed at a motel. I traveled over the fourth of July week because I was off work, and they don’t celebrate our fourth of July in Canada. I figured the offices would be opened and I could get my birth certificate.
I will tell you that before I made this wild trip I did try to call the birth records office a hundred times. Always, always getting a mechanical voice recorder. I never, ever could get a human being on the phone and that is why I made this awful trip despite not being completely well yet.
It was like in a Stephen King movie. I got to this huge office building and there was not a soul in sight. I kid you not. I walked into the office of records and there was no one, I mean no one. No one waiting to collect their birth certificate, no one working at any one of the six windows at the counter. No One….
I thought to myself ” you have got to be kidding me.” Finally I called out into the emptiness, and from a great distance I heard these tapping feet hurrying my way, and a voice saying ” coming, I’m coming.”
All I could think was that I needed a valium as this man hurried toward me, went behind a window, opened it up, and asked if he could help me. I was waiting for the aliens to come and take me away.
I am sure I looked like a crazy women with my butchered hair, rapidly telling my whole story in a flood of words. He got the whole story in under three minutes. After my eruption he stood there in a state of shock for a moment and then told me ” THE BIRTH CERTIFICATES DON’T COME FROM HERE, THEY COME FROM TORONTO” (another thousand miles the other direction.) I swear I looked around for cameras thinking he was punking me. I mean there was no one else there. We were alone.
After I swallowed my tongue a few times I said to him, as if I was talking to an idiot, that the address for getting a copy of my birth certificate was indeed this office. He laughed, I wanted to smack him, and then he revealed that they only “MAIL THEM FROM THUNDER BAY.” They actually come from Toronto.
What an example of government horseshit. Why would they send them from one place to another to be MAILED…..Are they stupid? I did not ask this out loud, at least I don’t remember asking it out loud.
There are so many ups and down to this citizenship fiasco but I am only giving you the highlights. There is so much more ineptitude to my story. A saner person would have jumped in the river or something just to get away from the craziness.
Anyway, the gentleman got to hear my horrible story again, at a faster rate of speed this time with all the ins and outs to demonstrate how vital it was that I get a copy of my birth certificate RIGHT NOW.
I think in the end he felt sorry for me, or just wanted to get this crazy looking woman out of his office so, he told me he would try to get a copy sent over from Toronto, and that I was to return the next day.
The sun was blazing through my window at the motel when I got up. My only thought was to get some food and get back to that office. I was afraid that it might have vanished in the night somehow.
True to his word he was waiting at the window when I once again returned to this gigantic empty room. I’ve heard of cut backs, but really. Anyway, he indeed had the precious copy of my birth certificate in hand and passed it over to me before I could relay my story to him once again. I blessed him and left.
What a (fking) trip, several thousand miles, and thirty four hours of driving, and now I was finally on my way to the INS office in Kansas City to get my citizenship papers. Finally!
Again I slept in my car over night and arrived in KC about ten in the morning. I had a ream of paperwork with me, $350, and was ready to join the other immigrants of the world in swearing my allegiance to this great country.
That’s right, after waiting my turn for over an hour I was sent to sit in an office with other immigrants to await the swearing in. It was a holy moment to me. Truly. I had never pledged allegiance to anything, and here I was joining others in our finest hour. I will admit that I am now a proud American. I jumped through all the hoops, and gave my pledge to honor this nation, under God. And I will.
So, back to the DACA folks. Why can’t they go through the same process as I did. They would need an exemption from the parental connection, but the government could put it under some other title as they have been here for years, some a lifetime.
I say if they are willing to do the paperwork, pay the fees, and pledge there allegiance to this great country, and only this country, then they should have the honor to become citizens of this great country as well.
All of us need to feel pride in where we call home. We need to join together to help others willing to jump through the hoops as well to become citizens. We owe it to them because we let them in. Give them the chance to swear allegiance and then close the borders and let others go through the correct process to become Americans as the millions of others have done before.
I am proud to be an American. This country offers so much. We are wealthy beyond belief, just ask some of the immigrants that have traveled so far to come to this great nation if this is not true.
Let’s come together, not war against each other. Let’s respect each other, and not harm others with our words, and let’s love each other for the courage to fight to become “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” Have a great day today, and thanks for listening to my tangent. It was a relief to get it off my chest:)