Saul Mendoza

Black Panther is Undocumented

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Saul Mendoza

Campbell, CA

Hi, I’m Saul, an Immigrant from Mexico. I would like to share a little bit of my story growing up in the states.

So lets start off back in 1990 when I first arrived here at the age of two alongside my family. Growing up here since the age of two had me believing that I had been born here. Of course, as I got older, little by little I started to realize this was not true. The first time I ever came across this in my life was when I was around the age of 6 and hearing my father’s brother telling us “Don’t go outside, don’t even peek out the door or they might take you away”. When I first heard that I thought it was a game and well it wasn’t.

Once in Jr High I wanted to play sports and do after school activities however due high possibility of injury it is asked and required for you to have a SSN to be able to participate. So at the end of the school day I excitedly am going home to fill out my permission or application to be able to join the team. As I arrive home I tell my family about me wanting to play football, as soon as they saw the paper they said no. I didn’t understand why, thats when I first truly understood why after it was explained by my family to me.

They said “No tienes papeles” which mean you have no papers. My first response was like “yes I do you’re holding it in your hand” well lets just say thats when the truth was told and I found out I wasn’t from here since then I learned to lie of course to everyone that would be a bad thing for “us” though its a way of survival to keep from what we all fear most… To be deported. Especially when your case is like mine. “Born” and raised in California, lying just became a way of life a way to fit in sometimes I sit back and I ask myself have I lied enough? Do I need to keep lying? When should I stop? Truth is for 12 years I told lie after lie. Making up places I’ve lived at, where I was born, how I played football in high school.

Now I laugh about it only because i finally became comfortable in my own skin finally after attending a public speech by Jose Antonio Vargas. It gave me the courage to be able to admit not just to you but most of my friends who never knew also to the love of my life who for also a year after being together I was hesitant to tell but more importantly to myself… yea to myself more than anyone else for I have always considered myself to be American even though according to the government I am nothing but an Illegal alien who is stealing work from “true Americans.”

I think I’m just doing what any other immigrant before me including “Americans” have done in the past looking for a place to live that will give me and my family a great and fruitful life or as we call it “The American Dream.” I know I haven’t been perfect due to all the lying I have done to be able to get to where I am now, but if i could go back in time, I have to be honest and admit I wouldn’t change one thing because through all of this I have learned a lot of myself my background and also how much I want to be here and be a part of a great country which I will always call home even though I’m originally from Mexico.

When you see Immigration officers pull aside an older male that looks Hispanic and single him out as you are getting off a greyhound bus and you are right behind him knowing very well what they are doing and you are just like the male in front of you but you pass by without immigration paying a single hint of interest in you- well lets just say that its the saddest thing to see. We are all here to just make a better life for ourselves.

I was raised here since 2 years old, lied my way through life, until just last year maybe a little longer. I am now 24 years old a father to a handsome baby boy and soon to be engaged to a beautiful young girl and my only wish i have now a days is to someday be able to say I’m American and to have a paper to show it until then I will continue to support all illegal aliens, until the day comes that we all have our drivers licenses and are considered “real” Americans.

So what is truth: what we make it or what the government labels us to be?

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