Living With Fear of Deportation | Waking Dream Ep. 2

Living With Fear of Deportation | Waking Dream Ep. 2

– For a month, I was
inside that jail cell, always looking out that window
because I could not sleep. To stay sane, I just
counted how long it would take that traffic
light to turn from red to green, hoping that this
nightmare will end and that my life will
go back to normal. (somber melancholic music) Having been born in Peru and
being of Chinese descent, I’m definitely not
your average Joe. (somber melancholic music) Across the street is
where I used to live. When Immigration came, I was just getting
ready to go to school. I heard a loud knock. When my mom opened the
door, all of a sudden, ICE agents started rushing in and immediately handcuffed
me and threw me inside a van. I think the hardest
thing was seeing my mom being criminalized
and being handcuffed for coming to this country and giving us a
better opportunity. (somber melancholic music) Once my teachers and friends
found out about this, they came together to organize. – [Female Anchor] The
city college student is said to be deported
to Peru on Monday where his family
says he knows no one. Friends of Steve Li are
fighting for his freedom. – He’s gonna get sent away to a country he
knows nothing about. – Ordinary people who have never been to a rally, never
been to a press conference, they are the reason
I’m here today. (somber melancholic music) Without DACA, I would have
continued to live in fear, I would have not been able to get a driver’s
license, a work permit. Not only are these
physical things, but also mentally, to know
that you are accepted, at least temporarily in a
place that you call home. (peaceful melancholic music) – I was seven years old and
we walked across the desert. (peaceful acoustic music) We’re not big enough
to have a Walmart but we have a huge border
patrol station, it’s ginormous. They’re just everywhere, I think there’s more border
patrol than anything else. It’s in high school. I think I was the
only one in my class that was undocumented. I did graduate top of my class. All my friends were all
getting ready to go to college but I was probably
gonna end up working in the greenhouse and the fields with my mom and my siblings. That was gonna be my
life and I knew that. We were driving and we were
the only ones on the road and all of a sudden, we
saw a border patrol car and there was six other
cars that surrounded us like we were criminals
or something. One of the agents grabbed
my mom by the collar. He told me if I didn’t
shut up, he was gonna stick a big ol’ thing down my mouth and I was gonna regret it and
it was gonna hurt even worse. (somber melancholic music) The day that I found out
that I got approved for DACA, it was so emotional, it still is just to think about that day and all that I’ve been
able to do since then. I probably would not
have had two kids if I was not in a situation where I could give them
something better. I got a really good job at
the elementary school here. If I can keep DACA, I can
keep going with my life. School, owning our first home, maybe getting a bigger car. I grew up here like
this is my country, this is the only
place I know as home. (somber melancholic music) – The house down that way is where we first arrived
to the United States. It had like three
families in one apartment. We used to live here and then we got kicked
out of the house. And then actually
like two blocks down, I used to live there as well. Used to live here in
this corner as well, still know everyone there. I’ll tell ya, I lived all over. When we were walking
home from school, they actually shot someone
right there on the bus stop. (somber melancholic music) I was about 10 years old,
my dad went back to Mexico. My grandma, she was
on her deathbed. As he tried to
make his way back, I believe he was caught
and then deported. As a kid, I honestly didn’t
really understand it. I was pretty sure he
was gonna come back. Definitely my dad’s absence, we were destined to live
in poverty essentially. I started to find a
family in the streets. We were about to get in
a fight in the classroom and the principal came and was like oh, I know you
don’t have people at home but we care about you
like in front of the class and that’s kinda when, something
just triggered in my mind. Fast forward five minutes
after I had punched him, I was in handcuffs. The thing that really
helped me persevere was I said, “I’m not going to jail, I’m not gonna end up dead. that’s not gonna happen to me.” A lot of my students
hear my story that I got expelled
from punching the
principal in the face and they were like, “Yo,
like how are you here?” And that’s when I
said, “Because I worked. Because there’s another way out. (somber melancholic music) I’ll be able to
reconnect with my dad for the first time in
a really long while. I mean, it’s over
10 years for sure. I had to get a passport
for the first time ever because I’ve never
left the country. All my my advance parole
papers, so this is essentially what’ll get me into back
into the United States. I looked over five times just ’cause I’ve been
really nervous about this but I mean I have the document, I should be able
to come back in. I feel like I have a
lot to lose here. Little letters my
kids have written me so this is kinda
keeps me grounded, it’s kind of my purpose
for coming back. (bright inspiring music) I’m really scared
that when I come back into the United States, they’ll say, “I can’t let
you in for whatever reason.” Once I cross that line,
I may never come back. (hopeful inspiring music) – This interview’s gonna
happen tomorrow to determine if I’m eligible
for legal residency. I don’t know if my nerves
are gonna betray me once I’m in the office.


  1. Thanks to PBS digital studios for putting a face to the dreamers, we often hear of them but without getting to know them they're just another blurb on the news

  2. Yes the dreamers have a face PBS of taking advantage of tax payers money $$$
    Americans can't tolerate these poor wage earners. We don't need them in our economy, U.S. any longer says Pres. Trump

  3. If i could help one of these migrants/dreamers somehow, I would even sponsor if that is even done these days. I feel for these young ones it's not their fault and they do deserve better, I hope we will help them in this country.

  4. It's your parents fault for doing this to you. Sorry. We are not the dumping ground for everyone that wants a better life. Your parents should of done it the right way.

  5. I for one have never understood how people can be so cruel to immigrants or other humans in this way. This man here came at 2 months and is as much of an american as any american citizen. And I have never understood the hypocrisy of americans who claim "oh yah we followed the law," your ancestors were under a much more lax immigration system.

    As a chinese person I support fellow immigrants fully regardless of immigration status because I'm a human being. A person's worth is not in their status or what they can do, christ loves all. And this man loves his kids and loves his community, why should he be deported, it befuddles me.

  6. They shouldn't be here n the first place! I didn't care about the color of their skin!!! If there not here legally then they broke our laws and they need to be sent back to their countries of origin now.

  7. ILLEGAL ALIENS didn't know anyone in this country but that didn't stop them from coming to the US. Our taxes paid for your education instead of going to American students.


  9. No-one would have to "live in fear of deportation" if they, or their parents hadn't come to our country ILLEGALLY! If that fear is so terrible, then go back to wherever you came from. You SHOULD be more afraid of being tried in a court and jailed for your CRIMES, rather than worrying about being deported.
    You can make your own choice. Leave voluntarily, and be GLAD you weren't charged and held accountable for breaking Federal Law.

  10. Okay so you pushed your way through for daca. You or your family didn’t make any effort to become u.s. citizens, and it’s our fault. How about the people that spend thousands upon thousands to adjust their status. And yet you want to demand to be a citizen. No, it doesn’t work that way. Your parents chose to break the law knowingly. So stop with the excuses. You know family in your home countries, so stop with the “I don’t know anyone” it only becomes convenient when you get caught.

  11. Being sorry now for not using the proper accepted way to enter the US is not Americas fault. The blame lies with your parent for jumping the line. Now thier children pay. The Democrats have no solution to the problem but still try to blame Trump for it all. It was the Dempcrats that have pushed the problem into the closet. Take a true look at where the fault lies and start the process over the proper way.

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