Illegal immigration essays

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My ambition was to get a reporting job, so I embarked on a series of internships. First I landed at The Philadelphia Daily News, in the summer of , where I covered a drive-by shooting and the wedding of the 76ers star Allen Iverson. Using those articles, I applied to The Seattle Times and got an internship for the following summer. But then my lack of proper documents became a problem again. So before starting the job, I called Pat and told her about my legal status. This was devastating.

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After this episode, Jim Strand, the venture capitalist who sponsored my scholarship, offered to pay for an immigration lawyer. View all New York Times newsletters. I was hopeful. But the meeting left me crushed. My only solution, the lawyer said, was to go back to the Philippines and accept a year ban before I could apply to return legally. If Rich was discouraged, he hid it well.

Keep going. And I did. For the summer of , I applied for internships across the country. After my close call at the California D. Again, my support network came through. Rich taught me how to do three-point turns in a parking lot, and a friend accompanied me to Portland. The license meant everything to me — it would let me drive, fly and work. But my grandparents worried about the Portland trip and the Washington internship.

While Lola offered daily prayers so that I would not get caught, Lolo told me that I was dreaming too big, risking too much. I was determined to pursue my ambitions. I was 22, I told them, responsible for my own actions. But what was I supposed to do?

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I was paying state and federal taxes , but I was using an invalid Social Security card and writing false information on my employment forms. But that seemed better than depending on my grandparents or on Pat, Rich and Jim — or returning to a country I barely remembered. I convinced myself all would be O. At the D. It worked.

My license, issued in , was set to expire eight years later, on my 30th birthday, on Feb. I had eight years to succeed professionally, and to hope that some sort of immigration reform would pass in the meantime and allow me to stay. It seemed like all the time in the world.

My summer in Washington was exhilarating. I was intimidated to be in a major newsroom but was assigned a mentor — Peter Perl, a veteran magazine writer — to help me navigate it.

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A few weeks into the internship, he printed out one of my articles, about a guy who recovered a long-lost wallet, circled the first two paragraphs and left it on my desk. My plan was to finish school — I was now a senior — while I worked for The Chronicle as a reporter for the city desk.

But when The Post beckoned again, offering me a full-time, two-year paid internship that I could start when I graduated in June , it was too tempting to pass up. I moved back to Washington. I was so eager to prove myself that I feared I was annoying some colleagues and editors — and worried that any one of these professional journalists could discover my secret.

The anxiety was nearly paralyzing. I decided I had to tell one of the higher-ups about my situation. I turned to Peter. One afternoon in late October, we walked a couple of blocks to Lafayette Square, across from the White House. Peter was shocked. He told me that I had done the right thing by telling him, and that it was now our shared problem. I had just been hired, he said, and I needed to prove myself. A month later, I spent my first Thanksgiving in Washington with Peter and his family.

I visited the White House, where I interviewed senior aides and covered a state dinner — and gave the Secret Service the Social Security number I obtained with false documents. I tried to compartmentalize my fears, distract myself by reporting on the lives of other people, but there was no escaping the central conflict in my life. Maintaining a deception for so long distorts your sense of self. Lolo died a year earlier, so it was Lola who called me the day of the announcement. What will happen if people find out? After we got off the phone, I rushed to the bathroom on the fourth floor of the newsroom, sat down on the toilet and cried.

In the summer of , without ever having had that follow-up talk with top Post management, I left the paper and moved to New York to join The Huffington Post. I wanted to learn more about Web publishing, and I thought the new job would provide a useful education. While I worked at The Huffington Post, other opportunities emerged. The more I achieved, the more scared and depressed I became.

I was proud of my work, but there was always a cloud hanging over it, over me. After slightly less than a year, I decided to leave The Huffington Post.

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In part, this was because I wanted to promote the documentary and write a book about online culture — or so I told my friends. But the real reason was, after so many years of trying to be a part of the system, of focusing all my energy on my professional life, I learned that no amount of professional success would solve my problem or ease the sense of loss and displacement I felt. I have been unwilling, for years, to be in a long-term relationship because I never wanted anyone to get too close and ask too many questions.

The license is valid until This offered me five more years of acceptable identification — but also five more years of fear, of lying to people I respect and institutions that trusted me, of running away from who I am. All the people mentioned in this article gave me permission to use their names. I do know that I am grateful to my grandparents, my Lolo and Lola, for giving me the chance for a better life. Early on, I was mad at her for putting me in this position, and then mad at myself for being angry and ungrateful.

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By the time I got to college, we rarely spoke by phone. It became too painful; after a while it was easier to just send money to help support her and my two half-siblings. My sister, almost 2 years old when I left, is almost 20 now. I would love to see them. Not long ago, I called my mother. I wanted to fill the gaps in my memory about that August morning so many years ago.

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We had never discussed it. Part of me wanted to shove the memory aside, but to write this article and face the facts of my life, I needed more details. Did I cry?