Thanks Jacob for sending us your video. Your decision sounds very based on research, that’s great. Have you told your family yet? We hope you don’t change your mind — email us again if you experience feelings that deviate from your conviction. Join our support group!
Thanks Peter for your brave video!
Thanks, Elin, for sending us your testimonial. Best of luck!
For the past few months, we’ve been working to support Rachel as she prepares to self-deport. We asked her to write a guest blog post about her experience of learning that she is illegal and sharing her plans to self-deport with her family.
This Thanksgiving was the worst in my memory. I went to visit my daughter Rose and her husband Guy in Pennsylvania. He’s a lovely man. Conservative. Patriotic. They have the three most adorable children aged 6 months to 5 years old. I love them—playing with them, reading to them, just being with them. Eva, the middle one, reminds me of my mother—the silky fine blond hair, the pale blue eyes.
Still, I dreaded the event. I was almost sick with worry. My daughter and son-in-law know of course that I was born in a refugee camp at the end of WWII. My mother had survived the war and the Nazis. My father hadn’t. A very charitable family helped my mother (and me) emigrate to the United States. Entries into America were at the highest premium. Everyone wanted to come here, though many ended up taking boats to nowhere, to countries they didn’t know existed. But we were lucky. We came here. I was a baby. I don’t remember anything until I was a child in New Jersey, going to school, middle school, high school. The year I started middle school, my mother died. I was nine years old. She was so young still. Not even 40. But the war took its toll on her and she had always suffered from weak lungs. I didn’t really understand what was happening but she had some sort of pneumonia. Her best friends next door took me in. I had no family, and they became family. Aunt Marg, Uncle Jim, I called them. I was very lucky to have them in my life. Even after I married and had my daughter I went to visit them often.
So life went. We worked in a factory that made springs for sofa beds. We had a stable life. We made enough money for a little house, a nice car. Rose went to college at Rutgers and loved it. My husband George had fought in Vietnam but had put the war behind him. His sister Peg became my best friend, and almost a real sister to me after George died two years ago. Peg’s lively, full of fun and energy and curiosity. Early this year she suggested we take a tour to Europe—see some sites, have some fun. It was such a great idea—I’ve never traveled. I was excited. I started the paper work for my passport. I’d never had one. Why did I need one?
Well. I needed to fill in the forms and send in proof of citizenship. Proof? I was an American. What kind of proof? “Well, a birth certificate, for example,” said the woman from the Passport Office that I was finally able to get on the phone. “I was born in a refugee camp,” I told her. “Well then, naturalization papers,” she said. I didn’t have naturalization papers that I knew of. I promised to ask my Aunt Marg. Aunt Marg is in her eighties but sharp as a tack. “I don’t remember any papers,” she said, though she pointed me to her attic and the boxes she had inherited from my mother, still stored there after fifty years. I searched everywhere. Finally I found my mother’s naturalization papers, but not mine. I went to US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Nothing. There was no record of me. My mother, yes. Nothing about me. How could that be? I asked the clerk. “It happens,” he said. “Sometimes parents think that once they’re naturalized their kids are too. That’s not how it works.”
I was illegal. I was an alien. I couldn’t believe it. I had worked hard all my life. I had paid taxes. I had a social security number and a driver’s license. My daughter had gone to a public university. How could this have happened?
After a couple of months searching for answers, I stumbled on the Patriots for Self Deportation website. Reading the testimonials and emailing some of the members, it became clear I had to self deport and apply for naturalization and citizenship the legal way. Where would I go? I was not a citizen of any country in the world. Just as painful, I had to tell Rose. I couldn’t just call her, I had to explain this face to face. So, Thanksgiving.
I dreaded it. All the way from New Jersey to Pennsylvania on the bus I thought about how I would tell her. I couldn’t live in America illegally. I couldn’t just wait to receive my social security pension knowing I didn’t belong here. I wasn’t that kind of person. But what would this information do to my daughter? She was now the daughter of an illegal alien. Guy would explode. I couldn’t think about it. And those children, my adorable grandbabies.
I can’t even describe the looks on their faces when I told them. Rose’s face blank with incomprehension. Guy turning red on his neck, and the red spreading up his throat to his face. He ordered me to leave immediately. Rose was still blank as she watched me go. I left quietly, giving them time to think. I know this kind of shock takes time to process. All the way back to New Jersey on the bus, I cried. But I knew I had to tell them. How could I not? So now, what? I’ll leave to a place I’ve never known (How? When? With what papers?), leaving behind the only family I have in the world. Where will I live, what language will I speak, how will I support myself? Now it’s my turn to take the boat to nowhere. I will look through the Patriots for Self Deportation, looking for solutions, looking for strength. Right now, all I have are questions. That’s all I have left.
If you, like Rachel, need help self-deporting, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We have a network of mentors who have already self-deported, and they can help you make this big decision.
Alex Kaye’s video testimonial:
We post your testimonies when you send them to us, and we’ll add them to the yourStories page too. Email email@example.com. This one is from a new Repatriot, Claire G.
My name is Claire G., and I grew up in Brooklyn, New York City. I just turned 20 years old on 11.11.11. I am writing because I recently discovered, through casual conversation with my grandma Colleen (mom’s mom), that her mother, Viola Power, came to the United States when she was an adult, and she and her husband never received her naturalization papers. They just came here from Ireland on a boat, got married, started their family, and all their kids were US Citizens just because they were born here. Grandma Colleen included. Even though their parents were illegals! I am dismeyed about this, and honest to God I am crying as I write this, because I can’t believe my OWN FAMILY, who is so anti-illegals they even took me to protests downtown a few years ago, to yell at the illegal Mexicans who had no right to be in this country, carrying their Mexican flags and chanting in Spanish for their freedoms, and whatnot — they took me to this, with a sign made of a pizza box that sayd NO CITIZENSHIP FOR ANCHOR BABIES! And these very people, my own mother’s family, turns out to be the descendent of ILLEGALS?? I swear you guys, I am crying so hard right now because I strongly believe in this country, I love the US of A with all my heart, and being from a Republican family in NYC is not easy, because we are surrounded by liberal socialists who want to just give away our country for free to freeloaders — I DO believe anchor babies have no right to AMERICAN Citizenship! So what does that mean for ME?!? My own grandma Colleen is an anchor baby! I have been in dispair cuz I didnt know what to do. But now when I found out about your movement through Twitter, I swear to God you guys have given me DIRECTION ON WHAT I CAN DO: when I turn 21 next year, I WILL SELF DEPORT MYSELF TO IRELAND. I am not kidding, my parents think I am crazy, they even threw my birth certificate in my face last night saying you are American Claire!, and I said fine but I shouldnt be! Self deproting is THE ONLY RIGHT THING TO DO. As you guys say, ending illegal citizenship starts with ME, right? Put my actions where my mouth is! My mom should do the same thing! Unless they can give me PROOF that my great-grandparents were here LEGALLY, I swere to God Almighty I am leaving. IF YOU HAVE NO PROOF, REPATRIATE!! Let’s do this, you guys. Let’s do what’s right! We can come back LATER, LEGALLY, LEGALLY, LEGALLY. Like our ancestors should have. Thank you Self Deport, honestly, for solving my mental and moral problem I was having. Someday I will return legally to the USA. But for now, I am planning to return back home where where I belong. I have no right to be in this great land in the first place. Thank you.
A new RePatriot, Claire G.