• Get all the latest Claudia news with a dash of poetry. Sign-up now!

    Join 189 other followers

  • Instagram

    Spring backward. #photoaday #flowerstagram #firstdayofspring #spring #lastofwinter ❄️❤️ So yesterday, I ran a poetry workshop at a middle school and hearing the words from these youth, I feel a lot better about the world. One boy wrote a poem & was very shy about reading it. I offered to read it for him. To my surprise, he wrote about people wanting freedom and not being “illegal.” I hope he finds the courage some day to read the poem because these days, hate voices itself louder than love. Our kids deserve better role models. I didn’t grow up thinking about my immigration status, but I think many children have to now. 💔I’m at a very low point in my hope bank. I’m taking notes on how to say goodbye to a country. I think one way is love and one way is poetry.
#loveislouder #happyworldpoetryday This Sunday I made it to church at a Unitarian Universalist congregation. I arrived as a panelist for an immigration and human rights discussion. My audience was majority White. I started with a poem and then my college journey narrative. It is a heavy feeling to be a person who potentially faces deportation or undocumented status and to stand in front of an audience that though sympathetic, cannot imagine what your world is like. They listened to me and the other panelists very actively. One of the panelists, Klara Bilgin, showed us this poster-size cover of Time magazine’s March issue with her own addition “Why America?” At the end I was surprised that most people had comments rather than questions. When we say immigration is a controversial issue or a “hot topic,” it’s true. I got to see it today by people commenting on their experience traveling abroad without borders or their observations of how much labor is expected of undocumented immigrants. Many of them were proposing solutions. I wish Congress were as productive as these people were in their 15 or so minutes to comment and ask questions. #rageatCongress #votesmart #speakup Little sister poem. Be woke.❤️ #ajamonet #poem
  • Me on the Twitter

  • Archives

  • Recent Posts

  • Advertisements

How To Help Young Immigrants In Addition to Prayer & Hope

Due to the current administration’s attitude toward immigrants and the fact that I’m an intern for an immigration reform organization, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to be vocal about immigration.

I started Claudia Documented in 2012.

Immigration- TPS - DACA

A postcard to my representative

I was seventeen years old and was halfway through my first year of college. I had lived in a kind of ignorant and blissful bubble. That year, I learned the full extent of holding a work permit. I was speaking with a financial aid counselor trying to explain Temporary Protected Status, the program that grants me a work permit.

I knew my document wasn’t called a visa or a green card. That’s how far my understanding went.

The financial aid counselor is the one that broke things down for me and pretty much broke my world.

I had known months into my first year of college that the school, Bard College at Simon’s Rock, was too expensive and that my merit scholarship wasn’t enough. As a first generation student, I also didn’t understand how tuition piled up. I imagined my mother and I, if I continued with my job and applied to scholarships, would be able to manage another year at the school.

In 2012, I learned why paying for school was getting so tough. Immigrants aren’t allowed financial aid and they’re ineligible for many scholarships. With that eye-opening moment, I began to see limits in my world, limits I didn’t know existed for me. It meant that I would not be able to wear those “I voted” stickers, yet alone, vote in elections. I’ve missed two presidential elections since turning 18. For a few years, I was also not able to have access to healthcare. Traveling abroad, low-income and immigrant, was also off my list.

It’s been over five years since that moment, and I haven’t been able to change my legal status.

When I see comments on Facebook criticizing “young and smart” Dreamers for not being smart enough to fix their status, it enrages and disappoints me. There’s no pathway to permanent residency for DACA recipients or TPS recipients.


Postcards to our representatives, Culmore Junior Youth

The average age of a TPS holder is 43 years old. I’ve had TPS for so long, I didn’t think it made sense to change my “status” or more appropriate, “program,” to another uncertain program, DACA. Yet, I understand too well the struggles and fears of these young immigrants. If any of these young immigrants have been able to adjust their status it’s through complicated means:

  • U-visas, which means you have been the victim of abuse or a crime,
  • Employee-sponsored visa, which comes with the strain of offering product or ideas no other employee can, or
  • Marriage, which is a commitment that should be out of love, not out of fear

What can you do right now to help young immigrants?

  1. Get Informed – ask questions, follow the news, and connect with immigrant organizations
  2. Spread the Word – tell a friend, tell family, don’t stay quiet
  3. Meet the Demands – attend a protest, attend a rally, call and write congress
  4. Donate – these organizations run on volunteer power: National TPS Alliance, United We Dream, & NAKASEC
Tim Kaine at Speak Out for Dreamers

Introducing Tim Kaine at storytelling event, 12/04/2017, Photo: Alida Garcia

The hardest part on this list is meeting the demands. We all have busy schedules. It’s easy to hope. We do it all the time. Prayer, too, though meaningful, does not actively change the situation. I’ve been guilty of not meeting the demands, even though I’m personally affected. If meeting the demands is hard for you, and you are trying, I’m not going to lie. You and I are in a rough position, but the last thing we want is not to try.

If you, are bold and fearless, and meet the demands at every turn, continue. We need you.

What can you right now as you wrap up reading this article? If you haven’t, find your representative today. Next, share this article. If I have come away with one good thing about being an immigrant is that I understand the political system more and more every day.

If a businessman made it to the White House, what’s not to say you, dearest reader, can make it to the White House? Help an immigrant today and help the future.


Claudia Rojas is poeta. She’s also a TPS (Temporary Protected Status) holder. TPS protects individuals fleeing natural disaster and war on a temporary basis. The program has been extended for many years; no permanent solution has ever been presented. Currently, the countries of Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan have lost their TPS designation. El Salvador, Claudia’s country of origin, has 200,000 TPS holders whose lives are at risk should Congress or America fail us. Call your member of Congress today through the FWD.us tool or find your representative’s info online. We cannot delay.


1,000 miles: step 85

In  my last update, I expressed several frustrations with being a 20-something year old. Those frustrations are still relevant, but there’s been a few changes and experiences since. Read on to find out.

Two Sylvias Press Online Poetry Retreat

The online poetry retreat, normally a $279 experience, was offered to me through a scholarship. Just in time before the retreat started, I received a journal and book from Two Sylvias Press and was invited to a Facebook group. The retreat began early in October. For the following four weeks, I received writing prompts and motivational quotes in my inbox. I managed to keep up with the prompts. It was a productive season, which ended with my submitting two poems to the editors for critique.

New & Old Experiences

Sunset - blue -sky

Photo I took on a busy day, 11/21

In October, I helped judge a speech competition that was held at George Mason University. I judged something.

As I mentioned in earlier posts, Fall for the Book happens in October. Where were you? I attended my third Fall for the Book Festival because it’s tradition.

I also attended my first orchestra performance at the Kennedy Center and recommended the experience in my Simple Gems in the City of Washington, DC post. It’s a great chance to wear that fancy attire tucked in our closets.

Reading Poetry in Public Spaces

On October 21, I read a poem for a holy day, the bicentennial celebration of Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i faith. I made a recording of the poem “How To Live” for YouTube. Then, at a Sterling protest on November 21, I read two poems about being an immigrant. This was in front of Representative Barbara Comstock’s office.

Though these experiences aren’t the same as open mics, I find them thrilling. What’s a poem if not breathed into the public? If you are interested in my poetry, The Bookends Review published one of my forms poem, a sestina. Read the poem now.

Public Resistance for Immigration Reform

As I said to a crowd of protesters in Sterling, I feel most comfortable with poetry. It hasn’t been easy, but I’ve forced myself into protests. I was even interviewed for a ThinkProgress article and provided Mason Dreamers with input about the TPS situation. Public resistance means an active engagement with my community; it makes me feel empowered. Many people still don’t know about TPS. Educating people online is difficult–there are short attention spans and complicated lives.

DC protest TPS

I help hold that banner shortly after taking this picture on 10/23 #SaveTPS

If you follow me through Twitter or Instagram, you’ll find that these days, immigration doesn’t leave my mind. I have started a countdown for the days left until the Department of Homeland Security makes a decision about El Salvador’s TPS designation. By chance, this March 2018 deadline also marks the point when DACA (Deferred Action for Early Childhood Arrivals) ends for thousands of youth. Times are rough.

I’m A Policy Intern

This month, I started an internship as policy intern with FWD.us. It was an unexpected turn of events, but it’s the space I need to be in right now. It’s a space that makes sense with the issues that make my heart heavy.

FWD.us organized a fly-in for about 100 DACAmented youth and businesses who employ these youth, so they could meet with members of Congress. I was part of that effort!

Being me at this moment / brown/ immigrant / woman isn’t easy, but I’m taking step after step anyway.


Claudia Rojas is poeta. She’s also a TPS (Temporary Protected Status) holder. TPS protects individuals fleeing natural disaster and war on a temporary basis. The program has been extended for many years; no permanent solution has ever been presented. Currently, the countries of Haiti, Nicaragua, and Sudan have lost their TPS designation. El Salvador, Claudia’s country of origin, has 200,000 TPS holders whose lives are at risk should Congress or America fail us. Call your member of Congress today through the FWD.us tool or find your representative’s info online. We cannot delay.

On Citizenship: A Takeaway from the DACA Decision


Japanese-American Memorial: center sculpture by Nina A. Akamu depicts two birds with chained wings and wings breaking free

This past week, the nation tuned into Attorney Jeff Sessions’ announcement on the termination of DACA. News outlets were then eager to interview DACA recipients to share the stories of these youth. DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) is a program. It did not offer a pathway to citizenship or permanent residency.

When the program started in 2012, it was “subject to renewal,” which meant the program was a temporary fix. Homeland Security stated strict eligibility requirements for the program, aimed at protecting youth from deportation. All DACA recipients were granted temporary work permits, which in some states were used to apply for driver’s licenses and in-state tuition. The program has a filing fee of $465.

What Congress is supposed to do within the next 6 months, shape the future of thousands of young lives, Congress had to do sooner or later.

Congress is long overdue, overdue like a library book found in the attic. Under Obama’s administration, the DREAM Act was proposed, which would create a way for undocumented youth to become citizens. In the White House Archives President Obama is on record: “I have said time and time and time again to Congress that, send me the DREAM Act, put it on my desk, and I will sign it right away.”

Congress did not pass the DREAM Act in 2012; instead, that year, President Obama pushed DACA into existence.

The program was to be renewed every two years, during which years Congress was to find another solution. The Trump administration’s decision to end DACA speeds up the necessary discussion about citizenship rights for youth who grew up believing in America and feeling American.

Who gets to be American? In a nation built on the abuse of Blacks and Native Americans, American somehow boils down to a birthright.

The U.S. is a country that offers birthright citizenship, or if born overseas, birthright through parentage.

This is because the 14 Amendment, enacted post-Civil War, states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” As baby, a person has a land to claim, a land that will protect them.

Because of birthright citizenship, some children have parents who are undocumented. Because of birthright citizenship, some mothers give birth in America. It happens. It’s ridiculous and shameful, not for the parents but for the countries that these children aren’t being born to. Something is horribly wrong if a mother has to consider geography when giving birth.

Trump proposed an end to birthright citizenship during his campaign. Whatever your opinion about the President, he wasn’t wrong in bringing up the issue. In some countries, citizenship isn’t automatically granted upon birth. In 2013, the Dominican Republican took away citizenship from thousands. A ruling declared that persons born after 1929 without “at least one parent of Dominican blood” did not qualify for citizenship. It is a ruling that is still being questioned.

In the U.S., a person born in another country has to apply for citizenship in two ways: 1) citizenship through parents 2) naturalization which often requires reaching permanent resident status.

When we talk about a pathway to citizenship, we are skipping the first step: a pathway to permanent residency.

Permanent residency must be petitioned for or sponsored by an employer, a family member, or a spouse. In some cases, victim-survivors of domestic violence, incest, or rape, can apply to U-visas. Refugees can also apply to citizenship. One of the barriers to permanent residency is the lack of education about the immigration system. Another is economical: affording an immigration attorney. I believe there is a third barrier: all cases are not equal. All lawyers are not equally qualified or capable. The process is complicated.

Over the next months, it’s important to think about what we mean when we use the word American and legal Americans. 

At the beginning of 1942, President Roosevelt issued executive order 9066. If you visit the Japanese American Memorial in Washington, DC, you will find etched in stone the story of how 120,000 Japanese Americans were mistreated during World War II.

Were these Japanese-Americans illegal? No, they were American citizens. Was America scared? Yes, and America is still scared. Today, documented and undocumented Americans face fears about job security, terrorism, quality education, and ownership of homes.

As a community member, as a fellow human, I want to acknowledge those very real fears.

It is not easy to make a living in America.

Yet, some people manage to live in America, with different degrees of success and survival. In the U.S., some people view undocumented youth and their parents as an enemy force. The enemy, however, looks more like a stubborn Congress, mass incarceration, natural disaster, low-wage, greedy corporations, and inadequate healthcare access.

In other words, the enemy isn’t touchable, which doesn’t matter because the hero walks like you, laughs like you, looks like you. Dear reader, the hero is the you that comes to understand political problems are indistinguishable from human problems. It is the you that recognizes the face of another human to find yourself.


American-flag-AmericaI am panicking. It’s already the middle of August, and America isn’t talking much about me. Not many news sites are talking about the me that holds an immigrant “status.”

TPS news is not going viral, which is unfortunate for thousands.

TPS (Temporary Protected Status) is not really an immigrant status.

It’s not a visa. It’s not a permanent or stable residency. In short, it holds little to no claim to citizenship. It’s a temporary program that grants legal protection from deportation for persons who immigrated to America to escape war or natural disaster.

A person doesn’t apply to TPS from their home country; it doesn’t work like a visa. A person comes through illegal means, not through ill wish, but through a need to survive. If a country is indeed inhabitable, Homeland Security adds the country to a small and selective list of TPS designated countries. Then, an individual can apply for a temporary work permit and a temporary protected residency.

A recent news piece about TPS deals with Central America and was published through NBC this past Friday. Before that, there was a similar article from Mother Jones, with an opening quote of “We don’t have a plan B” published early in August. According to NBC news research, Central American TPS holders make up 80% of the TPS population. In 2014, MigrationPolicy.org estimated that there were over 340,000 TPS beneficiaries from countries like Haiti, Syria, El Salvador, and Honduras.

TPS affects hundreds of thousands.

I have been a TPS holder since 2001. Since learning and understanding my legal condition a few years ago, I have lived with mixed guilt and relief. TPS is only renewed if the Secretary of Homeland Security believes that a country is not ready to receive its people back. TPS is then extended for 18 months. The renewal process includes a filing fee of nearly $500 dollars per person.

TPS means you will go home eventually. The thing with TPS is that in many cases, it carries on for several decades—not out of a fault in the system, though many will argue that. The thing with TPS is that its extensions reflect the global instability of third world countries.

Like other TPS holders, I live in constant anxiety about the future.

I share the same sentiment with DACA recipients, and now, they share the same legal experience as me. We do not, though, share the same support. The cultural and political interest is lacking. TPS does not have age limits. The thousands of us that have it are children, students, parents, and grandparents. We aren’t just youth, as are the DACA recipients. And again, many have held TPS for decades, holding jobs and raising families: Americans without citizenship, there but overlooked.

In 2013, I volunteered with CARECEN, one of the few local organizations that works closely with the TPS community. I was not a fighter, then. I did not last long. With each failed protest, with each project’s small waves, and with each human interaction, I felt hope flee my heart.

There are days, TPS has an incredible ability to make me feel alone.

TPS for Honduras and Nicaragua expire in January 2018. For El Salvador, it’s March 2018. News of its renewal (or lack of) is released through a press statement from Homeland Security about six months before its expiration date.

Come September, I’ll be a little closer to knowing my future.

Sometimes, the lack of talk is good. It could mean that TPS is safe. It’s not an important issue. It could also mean that TPS holders are unprepared, easy targets. This is how it happened for Haitians, who are currently campaigning to stay in the U.S. longer. Their TPS status, designated in 2010, was extended for only six months, instead of the program’s usual 18 month renewal period.

I know TPS is not reliable. I know my having crossed the border as a child is a crime. Most TPS holders aren’t asking for citizenship. Like me, they ask for a permanent residency because despite our lack of legal certainty, we are Americans, permanently.

I don’t know what happens next.

I haven’t known for years. I am standing on such promising and such dangerous ground. As a recent college grad, my adult life is just beginning. As a recent college graduate with TPS, I don’t know if I will be legally allowed a job in 2018.

The bigger problem is that my America doesn’t know how I fit inside—what will become of me.

Please talk about me.

1,000 miles: step 48 & a lesson from @JuHong89

Over the weekend, my little brother and I tore up a box Mommy brought home. It held a small Christmas tree. We dressed it up with characteristically inartistic style. The last time we saw a Christmas tree in our home was the winter of ’07.

I realize I’m lucky to have known a united family and to have a family, albeit smaller over the years. I’m also blessed to have my mother near—even when she’s working 12 hours, 5 days a week, and studying English on Saturday mornings. At least, we’re in the same city, state, and country.

I’m not living my brother’s story: a home divided because his love is divided. I’m not living my half-sister’s story: a father who sends letters occasionally, and a mother who sends an allowance from los estados unidos. I’m definitely not living the life of an undocumented immigrant. I’m not out in the nation’s capital fasting for families (though it’s tempting).

As a legal temporary resident, finding means to pay for school tuition terrifies me, but I’ve yet to know the fear of being separated from my mother. El Salvador’s levels of poverty, crime, and natural disaster are very real. It’s the exceptional struggle of my native country that granted me rights to stay here, and it’s the struggles of Central American countries that have led many families to America.

People forget the immigration debate is not just over Latinos. Ju Hong, a UC Berkeley student from South Korea reminded me today that we’re also talking Asian Pacific Islander. When he interrupted President Obama’s speech earlier today, I’m guilty of feeling shame. I thought, that’s not classy. Immigration advocates are not simply yellers, and that’s the message President Obama seems to have taken.

Our youth are more than rebellious against authority. Young people are encouraged to be active in the political community, but when they speak out against injustices they’re reprimanded. Ju Hong has even been arrested in the past for his protests, and may have been arrested by security today if it weren’t for Mr. Obama’s patience.

Though I’m in disagreement with Hong’s outburst, there are rare moments when a young person gets a voice, nationally. A president visiting your state was one of them. And after all, with Thanksgiving around the corner, we can’t forget that there are families that will not spend this holiday season together.

1,000 miles: step 45

“Maybe my finger has never pulled the trigger of White supremist crime and violence

Still, I will forever be as guilty as my silence when the color of my skin

grants me privilege for those sins, the crime I do not stand against is as good as mine…”

–Andrea Gibson, “Bullets and Windchimes

I missed my political science lecture this past Tuesday to attend one of this year’s final protests for immigration reform in Washington, DC. Last April, I missed my favorite spring semester class, English Composition, for the same cause. My professor at that time had some interesting thoughts, something like “my silence in this capitalist society makes me culprit.”

The first impression most people get when they first meet me is that I’m a shy little thing… But it’s not social anxiety that keeps me quiet. I’m an observer. A listener. A notetaker. People are so internally complex— mentally, biologically, and emotionally. It fascinates me.

There are people who have really struck me as a mystery. People who seem to genuinely submit to an ideology of hate and ignorance. If I don’t have anything nice to say, I know to hold my tongue. I’ve held my silence many times:

  • at the condescending tone of a DMV representative for realizing I’m a Temporary Protected Status holder
  • at the sympathetic but never empathic words of “an ineligible for these benefits” phone call or letter
  • at the “words of wisdom” people try to offer even though they don’t know half of my struggles

Compared to other immigrants, my struggles have been few. And people in more difficult situations have overcome. I recognize, I can never feel pity for myself. It’s because I know how better off I am that the undocumented immigrant population matters to me.

It’s not just that a 7 year old little boy should have to stand in a crowd of strangers, on the verge of tears, to recount how he hasn’t seen and misses his deported dad. It’s not just for hardworking Latino high school graduates to quit their dreams because they’re ineligible for financial aid.

No, I don’t believe the 11 million will get justice. Maybe a tainted justice in the form of fees and paperwork. I don’t even believe in direct citizenship… simply the opportunity to get there some day. I’m content with permanent residency (which is all I’m asking after 12+ years of living in the U.S.). It would be reason enough to celebrate. If Congress could get its act together, actions for a “comprehensive immigration reform” would have been taken years ago.

2013-10-08 13.00.23

2013-10-08 14.52.272013-10-08 15.12.42

1,000 miles: step 44

2013-10-03 20.13.53

This is me and Ana Negoescu, Director of Education and Advocacy at CARECEN’s 32nd Anniversary Celebration and Awards Ceremony. It’s been but a few months since I last saw her, but time is a friend to change… and babies.

CARECEN, Central American Resource Center, is located in Columbia Heights, Washington, DC. CARECEN is a community-orientated organization, responding to the needs of its immediate Latino neighbors. One upcoming effort, an immigration reform march on October 8th.

I came across CARECEN earlier this year, after discovering their Residency Now campaign. Although, it’s often a traffic-filled commute to arrive at Columbia Heights, CARECEN is always a good reason of endurance. It is their efforts that have helped mobilize the passionate community I’m proud to be a part of, even when my tongue forget its origins.

I believe that at the heart of social change is a commitment to love. And CARECEN loves.

fightin’ #timeisnow

“It is no measure of good health to be well adjusted to a sick society.”

-Andrea Gibson, spoken word poet and activist

2013-09-24 22.55.562013-09-24 22.55.25

I often admire the immigrant’s ambition

for it take guts to leave behind an entire world

carrying on your back the weight of an American dream

and at arriving watching your dream unfold into a nightmare…


it’s more than the realization these streets aren’t made of gold:

it’s the fear that the color of your skin

and the accent in your tongue

is somehow too alien…


the possibility that in this new land, you’re not human enough.

1,000 miles: step 39

My goal is to teach creative writing at the college level. I have several years to wait, but for the past year I’ve had the opportunity to tutor at my local library.

For an hour, this teenager and a grown adult become student and teacher. Many of my “students,” are people who have never touched a computer or whose knowledge is limited. I can tell when we first meet, he or she assumes because I am so young, I will know everything about the computer. I don’t. In fact, I discovered a while ago through a friend, I don’t even know my operating system from company brands.

But I know enough to teach the basics. And when I say teach, I mean teach. Every one learns differently. I’ve had to slow down my speech or simplify my language with English as a second language learners. I’ve had to elaborate and define with the curious. I’ve had to find images, illustrate my own, point, and demonstrate. This is one-on-one teaching.

I can’t imagine handling an entire classroom… but it is something I am willingly to grow into, particularly since meeting people is thrilling. I believe we’ve all got something to teach each other.

Many of the people who visit me at the library are going through changes in their life. Some need a change of career, and some have unemployment-blues .

Over a month ago, I visited the Department of Education as part of a panel of students to discuss how immigration status and education can overlap, and what happens when they do. Although the audience wasn’t big, they were definitely curious. And so was I. The other students in the panel were recent graduates and had gone through several hardships. Hearing their stories, complicated in their own right, reminded me that a struggle isn’t its own outcome. It’s not the end of the line. It’s a perfect opportunity for growth.

I get closer to my ultimate goal by reminding myself: everyone is going through challenges–I’m no exception, and therefore not alone.

taken at the Department of Education, photographer Joshua Hoover

Claudia at the Department of Education, photographer Joshua Hoover

1,000 miles: step 31

“Ice: water frozen solid

ICE: Immigration Customs Enforcement”

La Santa Cecilia’s lead singer, La Marisoul, showcases her breathy, resonant voice through this song. The song is delivered was such sincerity, such reality, it has been hard to budge from my consciousness.

It tells the story of Eva, who cleans home for a living with fear in her heart.

of Jose, who was a taxi driver once upon a time and now drives an old truck

of children and parents who never see each other

and of Martha, the story of a dreamer, a story that reminds me too much of my daily struggle:

Martha llego de niña y sueña con estudiar [Martha came as a little girl and dreams of studying]

Pero se le hace dificil sin los papeles [But it’s a made difficult without papers]

Se quedan con los laureles los que nacieron aca [The laurels stay with those born here]

Pero ella nunca deja de luchar [But she never gives up fighting].

for the entire lyrics, visit the #Not1More campaign for keeping undocumented families together.

Because of the recent Boston bombings, details of an immigration bill have been cut short. The sneak peaks I’ve heard have come to me like a pack of ice for a wound that needs proper bandaging. And so, I have to remind myself that my society is one with rules and regulations. There is a procedure for everything. From living to dying.

Citizenship is a process.

A lot of the opponents to a pathway to citizenship, even one that takes 13 “short” years, argue that offering this choice rewards rule breakers. Rule breakers should be deported, fined, punished.

But I believe fear and abuse have been punishment enough. Being told you’re life is illegal is punishment enough. Being denied access to higher education is enough. And it angers me that any country–my America, where I’ve grown up–could ever belittle a human.

It is mind-blowing.