Below the Solar: Jesús Paez, undocumented in Sonoma – Sonoma Solar


Posted on April 27, 2019 by Sonoma Valley Solar

How outdated are you? I’m 29.


The place have been you born? In Guadalajara, Mexico in 1989. My mother and father introduced my 4 older sisters and me to the U.S. after I was round three.


Did they arrive straight to Sonoma? No, first we moved to Washington state, method up close to the border. We solely stayed there a few years, till they realized that work was not going to be a certain factor. And it was so chilly. So we moved to Sonoma, the place considered one of my aunts was already dwelling.  My recollections start in Sonoma.


You first went to highschool right here?  Sure. I did kindergarten at Flowery. That was earlier than they’d the twin immersion program. I went to El Verano first by way of fifth, then Altimira, and I graduated from Sonoma Valley Excessive Faculty.


So that is your own home? I’ve no reminiscence of Mexico. Once I was 27, I went to go to my aunt, who was ailing, in Mexico. It was the primary time I had been there since I used to be a toddler. I converse Spanish however it isn’t excellent. There was just a little little bit of a language barrier. And I didn’t know Mexico.


How did being undocumented have an effect on you? Nicely, as an example I took driver’s ed at the highschool, however I knew I’d not have the ability to apply for my driver’s license. And I’d really feel nervous simply strolling down the road, or going to a retailer, realizing I used to be weak if there could be a raid by immigration officers.  


When did you apply for DACA (Deferred Motion for Childhood Arrivals)? In 2012, the 12 months President Obama first introduced it. A pal of mine in Santa Rosa, known as me as much as invite me to affix a nonprofit for dreamers. There was a workshop, with attorneys there, to assist over 300 folks apply.


Did you discuss together with your mother and father in regards to the danger concerned in giving the household data to the federal government? Sure, they usually have been skeptical. However they left the choice as much as me.


Did your sisters apply too? My youngest sister, who’s 5 years older than me, utilized in 2013. The others didn’t meet the age necessities to qualify.


What are the advantages of DACA? Nicely, let’s be clear, it isn’t a repair, it’s only a Band-aid. It isn’t a path to something. What it does is means that you can get a Social Safety quantity to make it simpler to get work; and you may get a daily driver’s license, “actual I.D.” You used to have the ability to go to a relative who was ailing within the nation the place you have been born, and return legally to the U.S., however since 2017 that’s not the case. And since 2017 they don’t settle for new DACA candidates. DACA is just legitimate for 2 years, then you must apply to the federal government to resume it. I’ve renewed thrice. For me, it has given me consolation realizing that I’ve some type of safety, though it’s not the perfect, it’s restricted.


Another profit? I got here to understand that when you tackle being undocumented, it takes away the concern. Acknowledging that I’m undocumented provides me energy.


Do you take into account your self a “dreamer”? I don’t just like the label as a result of it divides the undocumented neighborhood into two components, those who’re headed to school and those who’re working.


Was Jose Antonio Vargas, the undocumented Pulitzer-prize profitable journalist, an inspiration? We undoubtedly realized lots from him. He’s within the upfront of the immigration motion, one of many first to return out publicly as undocumented. He gave braveness to others to do the identical.


Inform me in regards to the nonprofit that helped you apply for DACA? North Bay Immigrant Youth Union, in Santa Rosa. I labored with them for 4 or 5 years, after which stepped down for brand new folks, those we have been coaching, to step into management roles. There’s nonetheless lots of work to do – like rights workshops. Numerous folks don’t know that we – the undocumented – have rights. The precise to stay silent, the best to have a lawyer, the best to refuse entry into your own home with out a warrant.


How do the undocumented find out about their rights? There are many sources, a number of organizations that assist, in Sacramento, San Francisco, the Central Valley, southern California. They’re affiliated in a single huge statewide group, California Immigrant Youth Justice Alliance. MALDEF, the nationwide group based in 1968, Mexican-American Authorized Protection and Instructional  Fund, is their fiscal sponsor.


What are your private desires?  I went to Santa Rosa Junior School for normal ed after highschool. I plan to return in 2020 to get the radiation tech certification – Radiologic Technician. Proper now I work two jobs – I’m accountable for pricing at a neighborhood market, and I do re-stocking at a ironmongery store. I work about 65-70 hours every week, to avoid wasting up for going to highschool.


What immigration coverage would you wish to see for the nation’s undocumented?

A legislation that makes citizenship doable for us, the undocumented who’re dwelling, learning and dealing right here.


–Interview by Anna Pier




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