Anthony N, 26, Los Angeles, CA, Born in Philippines
Brought to the states when I was 11, I never asked about my immigration status. My family didn’t discuss it. In fact, this topic is rarely discussed in the Filipino community. The Tagalog term for those in the country illegally is a pejorative that means “always in hiding.” It wasn’t until I was in high school that I realized I was undocumented. Having landed an internship in Washington, DC, I had to provide a Social Security number, which I didn’t have – at least not until I signed up for DACA.
When President Obama announced DACA, I was at first hesitant to participate — not knowing if I could trust the system. In the end I decided to apply for the program. But most of my Asian counterparts didn’t, both in my community and across the nation – Asian application figures hover in the 20% range. Since applying for DACA, I have gone to work for Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles. My goal is to reach out and empower others like me, who qualify for DACA, but are weary of applying, especially now with much of the President’s programs tied up in the courts. I’m no longer afraid and have no intention of hiding. This past February, I was interviewed by the L.A. Times and put my story out for the world to see under the headline: “Missed Chance.” It was important for me to encourage other DACA-eligible Asians to not miss this opportunity.