Letter to the Editor: Undocumented experience one of constant fear, struggle years later


Courtesy / LA Times

Your GVSU peer

Hello GVSU family and friends, 

Its crazy to think we are just around the corner from spring and most importantly summer! I know among all of us the best part of being a Michignader is summer time at the beach or at the local ice cream shop!

Although its something I always look forward to, it’s also a time that brings lots of thinking along with it.

You see, I’m a proud daughter of undocumented immigrants that have called Michigan home for over 25 years. As a child, I never really grasped that my reality was much different from others, until I hit about 10 years of age. I found out that my family couldn’t take trips via airplane due to my parents fearing being caught by customs at the airport.

I had a lot of growing up from that point and more importantly, lots of adjustments as I got older.

As a teen, being part of a mixed status family meant much more than doing daily chores. When I turned 13, my dad taught me the basics to driving, and as soon as I was old enough for drivers ed, I was enlisted. As soon as I had obtained my first driver’s permit, I was now the “youngest family Uber,” as my family likes to call it.

You see, undocumented immigrants can’t obtain a drivers licesece or state ID in the state of Michigan. So now that I was legal to drive, I was now responsible for taking siblings to school and sporting events, along with my own and all other necessary places like medical appointments and much more.

Now as a full time student at GVSU and living away from home, the uncertainty of not knowing how and if my parents can do these things overcrowd my mind on a daily basis.

I also many times blame myself for not being able to still help out with these types of things and not being able to be at two different places at once. I know many of you will think this doesn’t affect you directly, but the reality is that it affects your friends and peers more than what you think.

Many times we are silenced because of the constant fear we live in because of our legal status. It’s a really hard reality for many students here at GVSU and across the country to have their future lie in the hands of voters and politicians.

The biggest thing that you as a community member of GVSU to be any ally is voting, and also educating – educating not only yourself but those around you to understand what DACA students must endure along with mixed status families. Along with this is speaking up for those that are silenced within the walls of fear. Remaining silenced when you can speak up is choosing the side of the oppressor. 


Your GVSU peer