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.