I was reading a news story today which I’m sure has repeated itself throughout the United States over the years. The difference is that in this case, the young man left explicative letters behind. Joaquin Luna committed suicide out of frustration and desperation because of his legal status in the United States.
Luna was brought here at a very young age and was fully integrated into what we consider the fabric of America. He did all the right things. He kept his nose clean, studied hard, and had dreams of becoming an engineer. The typical American kid with the typical American dream. However, that’s exactly what it was, a dream. Joaquin Luna was a Dreamer in a multifaceted sense of the word.
Young undocumented students are commonly referred to as Dreamers based on the proposed “Dream Act” legislation that would allow these kids to come out of the shadows and either enlist in the military or attend a post secondary school. They’re your teenagers friends, your neighbors, perhaps the kid who on weekends mows your lawn as he helps his dad out in his landscaping business. They are all around you! They speak perfect English. They’re bright and articulate, and for the most part, well informed. They are up on political issues. Well, for them, political awareness is survival.
Maybe that’s exactly what frustrated Joaquin so. Having the knowledge that last year the Dream Act failed by a handful of votes. Knowing he was about to graduate from high school and facing that very real fear that he wouldn’t be able to afford to attend a university because of the prohibitive costs for non residents, and knowing that he couldn’t work based on his social security number deficiency. If he worked, he would have had to use a false identification which as he well knew, is a crime. Imagine the frustration, loving the United States with all your heart, feeling like a patriotic American, yet living with the open secret that you are undocumented. I also want you to imagine feeling like an American, yet having to hear yourself described by extremists as an illegal, a leach, a dirty wetback who came here to live off welfare and become an Obama Democrat.
It’s no wonder that a young fragile mind facing such a haunting future would have felt that the only solution was to end his life. There are very few resources available for these young people. Without a social security number they can’t seek psychological assistance or even counseling from the normal channels that many of us Americans would traverse.
They’re caught in the middle, and they’re hearing the hype from both sides. Many pro Immigrant groups and “leaders” give them very little hope. Claiming instead that their President abandoned them and that they doubt Obama will do anything to help them or other undocumented Immigrants in their struggle to adjust their Immigration status. While at the same time they watch the anti-Immigrant groups aggressively lobby to shut not only the borders, but any door that may lend itself as a viable option for relief for these Dreamers. The politicians often refer to these Dreamers in their debates and in speeches on the campaign trail. They have masterfully polished the Immigration issue to get elected and reelected using all “illegals” as scapegoats for the nation’s problems.
As the years grind on and more doors are shut to these Dreamers, will we see a growing trend of frustration and acts of desperation on behalf of these Dreamers that for all practical purposes are great Americans, well, except for one slight problem, they were brought here unlawfully as toddlers by their parents from a country they don’t remember and have never returned to?
So many Dreamers feel they’re facing a dead end, at least that’s Joaquin Luna thought when he dressed up in a suit and tie, kissed his family goodbye and took a small caliber handgun into the bathroom of his family’s home and shot himself in the head, ending his life as a Dreamer.
The only thing young Joaquin left behind was his frustrations and shattered dreams as an “illegal”, all penned on paper for the world to see.
Carlos E. Galindo is a radio talk show host & political analyst conducting radio shows in both English and Spanish on four radio stations in Arizona. Mr. Galindo is a weekly contributor to KPFK 98.7 FM Los Angeles and W60 AM Radio, Los Angeles, San Diego and has appeared on CNN, Univision and Telemundo as a political analyst. Mr. Galindo is also an Op-Ed columnist on Prensa Hispana and the Tucson Citizen. Arizona.
Listen to our live radio broadcast every Friday from 5-7 PM on The JOLT Tucson 1330 AM or via the web on http://www.carlosgalindo.com