Escalante vs. de la Fuente

Interview in full HERE for Distilled magazine.

Flavia de la Fuente and Juan Escalante are both involved with immi­grant advo­cacy and pol­icy reform. So in order to get an inside per­spec­tive, Dis­tilled Extra won­dered what would hap­pen if one inter­viewed the other

Hello, Dis­tilled read­ers! My name is Flavia de la Fuente, and today I’ll be inter­view­ing Juan Escalante. You should Google him. Any­ways, Juan and I met on the inter­net on March 1st, 2010 when I joined Drea­mAc­tivist as the edi­tor. We dis­cov­ered we both have a mutual love for Star Wars. He made a “that’s what she said’ joke. I asked him whether gators are really every­where in Florida. And since that day we have met in per­son exactly once, and yet we are best buddies.

Hey Juan. What’s up?

Not much, you know… won­der­ing why am I being inter­viewed like this. Are you teach­ing me? Are you try­ing to expand my cre­ative juices? Is this a way for you to teach me? Are you a teacher? OMG, I suck don’t I? I knew it, I let this sit too long and now you think I suck. SIGH…

So. You’re undocumaz­ing. I mean undoc­u­mented. How did that happen?

Well, it’s kind of a funny story. My par­ents applied for a pro­fes­sional visa, an L1, which pro­vided a pas­sage to become a Legal Per­ma­nent Res­i­dent (LPR, and even­tu­ally a cit­i­zen. We arrived in the United States on August 29th, 2000 and after six years of paper­work, lit­i­ga­tion, appli­ca­tion fees, lawyer fees, and wait­ing in the so called “line” that all immi­grants are expected to wait in, we came to the real­iza­tion that our lawyer filed the wrong paper­work at the wrong time. All those years, and all that effort — wasted. Our case was closed by United States Cit­i­zen­ship and Immi­gra­tion Ser­vices (USCIS), with no appeal.

When peo­ple ask me about my immi­gra­tion sta­tus, when they hear this story, they often respond “Oh wow, so you are not like those other bor­der crossers who come mooch off our county!” I don’t respond, rather I stay silent — because rather than bury the igno­rance with my fact checked knowl­edge, I rather just con­vince myself that I ought to work even harder to achieve a com­pre­hen­sive reform to our cur­rent immi­gra­tion system.

Read the rest HERE for Distilled magazine.


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