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What The End Of DAPA Means To This Undocumented Housekeeper

Luba Cortés, an LBGT and Immigration activist in New York City, isn’t tiptoeing around her mother’s illegal status in this country. In fact, she just spilled all details of her undocumented life for The New York Times.

Share your story by clicking the link in our bio. ✊? #NoMoreClosets "My existence is composed of many identities; I'm latinx, I'm queer, and I'm undocumented. By default, my existence challenges all the different systems that exist to break and exploit my brown body. I've been using the label "queer" for almost 2 years now. It took me a long time to get there, "coming out" was never part of my plan because my desires and thoughts never felt unnatural. I never thought I would have to one day publicly announce that I was in fact "queer" but through the movement and my own politicization I chose to debut my sexuality and gender expression to my friends and my comrades. Coming out is not the peak of being queer, and it's not something that you should feel like you have to do. It's okay if you never come out, it's okay if you come out too. There's no shame in any of your choices. It's all about your safety. There are many different ways to live, build, heal, and love. Choose as many as you want. Remember that we continue to endlessly metamorphose. Who invented the closet anyways?" – Luba Cortes, Youth Organizer at Make the Road New York

A photo posted by United We Dream (@unitedwedream) on


Cortés’ childhood took place largely in strangers’ homes. She did her homework while her mother – a housekeeper – scrubbed toilets, dusted and vacuumed other people’s messes. Sometimes she scrubbed right along with her mother.


Cortés recounts the tale of one person refusing to pay her mother: “My mom was being exploited, but she was undocumented, and there was nothing she could do.”


Their hopes of a new life have just been shattered. “She has been undocumented for 16 years. In 2014, we thought this might finally change,” she writes. “President Obama announced a program, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, which would have protected her from deportation for at least three years and allowed her to get a work permit.”


“From a young age, I understood my place in the world through the eyes of my mother,” Cortés continues. “Her jobs required her to use cleaning products that burned her skin and blurred her vision. Her knees have scars from all the years scrubbing floors. Housekeepers are the heroes of the immigrant economy — they do their work silently, efficiently, and find money on the table after the job is done. There is no exchange of stories.”  Cortés’ mother was certainly not a housekeeper back home in Mexico: “None of the people whose houses my mom has cleaned know that she was a lawyer, that she is an intellectual and passionate person; they don’t know that she crossed a treacherous border, or that she lives with the constant fear of deportation.”


Cortés says they will have to keep fighting the fear and move forward. “In moments like these, of sadness and defeat, I think of the night that we crossed the border. As we were running, I fell and for a moment looked up to the night sky, scared that I would be left behind. But my mom was there, she was there all along — she picked me up, and we started running again.”


Read Luba Cortés’ entire story here.


READ: In Ruthless Raid Of The Midwest, Feds Arrest Over 300 Immigrants

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Gov. Newsom And California Lawmakers Unveil Stimulus Checks, Relief For Undocumented Residents

Things That Matter

Gov. Newsom And California Lawmakers Unveil Stimulus Checks, Relief For Undocumented Residents

Mario Tama / Getty Images

Americans are still waiting for the $1,400 check from the federal government to make good on the $2,000 promise In the meantime, some Californians will get extra help from the state government. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a $9.6 billion stimulus package for state residents and undocumented people.

Low-income Californians will be eligible for a $600 stimulus check from the state government.

Gov. Newsom and California lawmakers have agreed on a $9.6 billion relief package for the Golden State. The relief package is offering much needed relief to businesses, individuals, and students. The relief will come to Californians in different ways.

According to a statement, the package is making good on the promise to help low-income Californians, increase small business aid, and waive license renewal fees for businesses impacted by the pandemic. In addition, the package “provides tax relief for businesses, commits additional resources for critical child care services and funds emergency financial aid for community college students.”

The relief package is aimed at helping those who are hardest hit by the pandemic.

“As we continue to fight the pandemic and recover, I’m grateful for the Legislature’s partnership to provide urgent relief and support for California families and small businesses where it’s needed most,” Gov. Newsom said in a statement. “From child care, relief for small business owners, direct cash support to individuals, financial aid for community college students and more, these actions are critical for millions of Californians who embody the resilience of the California spirit.”

The package will quadruple the assistance to restaurants and small businesses in California. Small businesses and restaurants will be eligible for $25,000 in grants from a $2 billion fund.

Undocumented Californians will also receive a boost from the state government.

Low-income Californians will receive a one-time payment of $600 while undocumented people will be given a $600 boost. The money will be sent to tax-paying undocumented people in California.

According to the California Budget & Policy Center, undocumented people in California pay $3 billion a year in local and state taxes. Despite paying taxes, the undocumented community has not been ineligible for relief payments from the federal government. These payments will give needed relief to a community overlooked throughout the pandemic.

“We’re nearly a year into this pandemic, and millions of Californians continue to feel the impact on their wallets and bottom lines. Businesses are struggling. People are having a hard time making ends meet. This agreement builds on Governor Newsom’s proposal and in many ways, enhances it so that we can provide the kind of immediate emergency relief that families and small businesses desperately need right now,” Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins said in a statement. “People are hungry and hurting, and businesses our communities have loved for decades are at risk of closing their doors. We are at a critical moment, and I’m proud we were able to come together to get Californians some needed relief.”

Learn more about the relief package by clicking here.

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An Undocumented Mother In Iowa Is Sharing Her Story Through A Podcast

Culture

An Undocumented Mother In Iowa Is Sharing Her Story Through A Podcast

amplified_dsm / lauradrodriguez / Instagram

Laura Rodriguez is an undocumented mother living in Iowa and she is sharing her experience. Rodriguez is sharing her life using one of the most popular forms of media right now: the podcast. “Undocumented Momhood” gives people a chance to listen to what her life is like.

Laura Rodriguez is using her podcast “Undocumented Momhood” to create a space for women like her to find community.

Rodriguez has been wanting to create a podcast of her experience for a long time coming. The mother realized that she was always outnumbered when she went to mommy classes and couldn’t connect with anyone. That frustration led to her wanting to create something people could relate to.

“I was 22 years old when I had the kids and I had zero community around me,” Rodriguez recalls in an interview. “I often attended ‘mom groups’ to try to find my people and little friends for the twins but it never worked. Luca, Azul and I were always the only Latinx (people) in the whole group. Often you could see the class difference because they made it obvious for you to see and feel. After a few of these uncomfortable visits and many cries later I decided to just focus on being home with just the babies.”

Rodriguez’s husband created Amplified DSM and gave her a chance to reach an audience and fully tell her story. She has long been out as an undocumented woman and it was the 2016 elections that convinced her to come out as undocumented. Her biggest reason to come out was to lead her children by example.

“I always spoke to my children about the importance of being yourself and I wasn’t being my fully honest self,” Rodriguez says. “I had this heavy weight over my shoulders about my legal status that had follow me since I was 14 years old. I wanted to be free. I wanted everyone to know that this insane label that was put on us ‘illegal immigrants’  was wrong. I will always fight for my undocumented community they are my biggest inspirations.”

Rodriguez wanted to include her kids in the podcast.

“Azul, Luca, and I have this incredible connection so I wanted to honor them by recording our first episode together because, well, one because they are the ones that made me a mother and it made sense but also becoming Luca and Azul’s mother literally save my life,” Rodriguez says. “From the point on, they have been my teachers, my constant inspiration to keep fighting and to keep living. Plus they are so funny and smart I love my children. They are so fun to have conversations with.”

She wants her podcast to help break down the stereotypes of undocumented people.

“I want people to take away that undocumented people also have their own stories,” Rodriguez says. “[They have] their own struggles as a parent as humans. We are not only a label. Even though it seems everything we do to make a living and take care of our families is illegal, it only is because of our government.”

Rodriguez wants people to know that undocumented people are contributing to their communities. They are opening businesses, starting families, and living in a place that they want to make better themselves.

The podcasting mother says that the future episodes will dive deeper into the reality of living life as an undocumented person in the U.S.

“In the coming episodes, the conversations switch from a cute chat with my kids to the reality of immigration or real talks about motherhood,” Rodriguez says. “[For] example, women not liking being pregnant, not liking breastfeeding, or mothers not feeling that deep connection. “We are going to touch on so many of those taboo topics. I’m extremely grateful for everyone that has listened.”

You can listen to Rodriguez at Amplified DSM.

READ: Chicago’s Mi Tocaya Is Offering Up Free Mexican Homemeals For Undocumented Community

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