He quipped that he pays so much in taxes that he should be a Republican."In Ohio, so-called undocumented immigrants paid $82 million in state and local taxes," he said.
"Nationally, undocumented immigrants paid more than $100 billion to Social Security in the past 10 years.
Like many other Filipino men, he had fought on behalf of the U. during World War II in the Philippines and had been citizenship and veteran benefits as a result.
He had moved to California in 1982, expecting the process to be swift and easy and telling my mother, when he left, "Don't worry, things will be better for us soon." But when we arrived in California in 1986, 42 years after his service, the promise of citizenship was still unfulfilled.
He said to be an undocumented immigrant means lying to everyone about your background, watching others to learn how to pass for an American and hiding from immigration authorities."I felt like I had the word 'Illegal' written across my forehead," he said.
"My relatives used to get more and more upset every time my name appeared in the Washington Post.The streets were wide and open, the mountains surrounding the valley taller than any land mass I had ever seen. The three of us shared a room in this house, sleeping on a full-size daybed with a trundle.My aunt and uncle's one-story house, with its three bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, felt palatial. My grandpa lived there too, along with my teenage cousin.I remember being surrounded by adults most of the time.In the Philippines, we lived close to cousins around my age.We wrote letters, and tried to speak on the phone at least once or twice a month, though the cost was prohibitive.In the beginning I cried about missing him, but as time wore on, I remembered his physical presence less and less. I remember looking for it on a globe once, to reassure myself it was a real country that existed and not one I had merely dreamt up.) As time wore on, my father started to feel like a pen pal—a person you know exists, but who you'll probably never meet.A Film by an Undocumented American" and wrote the book, "Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen." He is the founder and CEO of Define American, a non-profit organization that focuses on immigrants in America.He asked the audience to consider the daily lives of the estimated 100,000 undocumented immigrants living in Ohio."Our understanding of them is built on lies coming out of Washington," he said.I was speaking to my mom the other day when she said, "Maybe this place isn't safe for us anymore." We were pushing my baby in his stroller down a sunny sidewalk in Brooklyn, enjoying unseasonably warm weather.It was a street I loved before I lived in the neighborhood, with giant old trees and stately Victorian homes.