Fighting for my parents

20141212_203718Por Tomas Kennedy

Of the many memories I have of my family immigrating to the United States, the most vivid one in involves my father and his first job interview in this country. We were staying with my aunt in New Jersey at the time and through her husband my dad got a job interview as a dishwasher in a restaurant located in Hoboken. As a ten year old that had never seen snow before I was mostly excited about that but I also remember the story of how during the interview, the manager of the restaurant interrupted him and asked to show him his hands, cutting the interview short by telling him “your hands have never endured hard work, you are not cut out for this kind of life”.

Fifteen years later, although my dad remains undocumented he is the proud owner of a small construction company that employs 4 people and has performed beautiful work remodeling apartments in the Miami area. My mother is a housekeeper and both of my parents have been involved in their community, fighting for immigrants’ rights incessantly, participating in community work and paying their taxes, basically your model American citizens.

When I heard of the DAPA executive action that Obama had signed, my heart filled with relief. I was attending school in Gainesville, Florida at the time and my father was suffering through a severe form of degenerative arthritis that threatened his ability to walk but because of his undocumented status he was unable to obtain the hip replacement surgery he desperately needed. I would lay awake in bed at night worrying about this and wondering if tomorrow would be the day that his joints would finally give in. I also had hopes that with the passage of DACA my dad would finally be able to expand his business, my mother would be able pursue her dreams of a better job, and both of them would be able to make full use of all the opportunities this country has to offer, as well as travel back to our home country of Argentina to reunite with family which we haven’t seen in over a decade..

All those hopes were snatched away from us and the millions of undocumented immigrants that live in this country by the GOP lawsuits blocking the executive order from coming into action. Although initially we were discouraged that the light at the end of the tunnel had been extinguished for us, we have come to a realization, that as a community we have to take charge and become involved in order to ensure the defeat of the immoral politicians that spit on the undocumented workers that are the economic power horse that drive our economy, the ones that in the shadows who perform the backbreaking work necessary to sustain our way of life and the comforts that we all enjoy. All we ask in return is dignity, respect, recognition and security, instead they call us thieves, rapists and other barbarities, it’s time to show them that our community is strong, united and ready to stand up and fight back.

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