We were both headed to Bogotá from JFK in a massive, empty airplane. No older than 10 years old, the National Hispanic Heritage Month T-Shirt also I will do this boy sitting across the aisle from me was flying alone, proudly clutching his American passport in one hand while he gripped an iPhone in the other. Together, we flew over oceans, seas, and borders. I didn’t know if he was coming home or leaving; all I knew was that he was able to look forward and backward. It’s a subtle point that often gets lost in the tumultuous political debate these days: Undocumented immigrants don’t get to look back. The American dream is a one-way ticket that offers captivity in the land that always promised mobility.
National Hispanic Heritage Month T-Shirt, hoodie, tank top, sweater and long sleeve t-shirt
This little boy reminded me of myself. As the National Hispanic Heritage Month T-Shirt also I will do this daughter of separated parents who lived lives separated by the Atlantic Ocean, I spent my entire childhood ping-ponging between Miami and Madrid. Even though I wouldn’t see my dad for months, I always knew I could eventually come back to the United States for Christmas or spring break. Likewise, I knew my mom would be waiting for me at Madrid’s Barajas Airport upon my return. I remember there being nothing more soothing than hearing the flight attendant announcing our descent; the ability to return—to a loved one or a meaningful place—is one of the most comforting feelings we experience. On that international flight towards Bogotá, it dawned on me: When was the last time an undocumented immigrant felt that?