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Home » Leezia Dhalla: Hiding in Plain Sight – My Life as an Undocumented American (Transcript)

Leezia Dhalla: Hiding in Plain Sight – My Life as an Undocumented American (Transcript)

Leezia Dhalla

Here is the full transcript of Leezia Dhalla’s TEDx Talk: Hiding in Plain Sight – My Life as an Undocumented American at TEDxSanAntonio conference. 

TRANSCRIPT: 

Four years ago, I almost got deported. It was a couple of days before my 21st birthday and I had just come home from a ski trip in the mountains with my college friends.

I remember pulling my suitcase up the stairs and just as I pushed opened the door to my childhood bedroom, I heard my dad’s voice from behind. That’s when he said four words I’ll never forget: “You don’t have papers”. In his hand was a letter from The Department of Homeland Security – a notice to appear in Immigration Court. The letter said that I had overstayed my visa and now had to go before a judge who could issue me a ten-year bar from re-entering the only home I know. How do you prepare yourself for the realization that you are less than legal? That suddenly, you’re an unwelcome guest in your own home? Facing eviction.

That moment of truth sent me flying into a new chapter of my life that I never wanted or imagined. I could ever be a part of because I had heard about those illegal aliens, how they’re criminal, they take our jobs, they don’t even speak English! But my dad’s words exposed me to a reality that wasn’t mine, until suddenly it was. And suddenly, that illegal alien was me.

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