Across the border

We fled one black sky night.

Bundled in the arms of a parent,

Confused and paralyzed with fright.

Too young to understand,

Where this journey will ultimately lead.

Just following the hopes of mom and dad,

To a place where their dreams for something better might succeed.

Too young to stop and argue,

Too dependent to stay in Mexico alone.

What’s a child to do?

But trust, unable to discuss or bemoan.

Today, there are things they didn’t tell me.

Things I wish I would have known what they meant.

Things that now confront me,

In this country I call “home,” where I was brought without my consent.

I’m about to graduate from high school,

I obey the golden rule.

The United States is the only home I know,

To our flag I pledge heartfelt allegiance, Why then are it’s laws so cruel?

My friends in school have jobs,

Saving for college, they work so hard.

I want to work so badly,

But have no Social Security card.

My friends, we like to go places together

Teenage fun makes me feel alive.

We have to take the bus,

The Governor withholds the license I need to drive.

Some friends have asked me to join them on a family vacation

Trips to Hawaii, Washington D.C., and even Spain.

I have to tell them “I can’t make it,”

I’m without the government issued ID, necessary to board a plane.

My family needs better medical care,

During the rain this week, I wish I had a coat.

My mother and father deserve real employment,

Gosh, I wish that I could vote!

When I read my history books,

The migration from places called HopeLESS to HopeFULL fill it’s pages.

We just did what millions of others have done,

Can you explain what I’ve done wrong that cause politicians to fly into rages?

I have three younger sisters, all born in the U.S.A

I adore them oh so deeply however, it doesn’t make much sense.

How we live as one loving family and They’re citizens,

while my parents and I are undocumented immigrants.

My sisters, they see my tears

We pray this injustice will be healed.

We’re really not asking for much,

Just a level playing field.

Don’t tell me I should “go back,”

To Mexico to wander and to roam,

Don’t suggest I shut my mouth,

This is America! It’s my home!

I don’t want your sympathy,

My plight today never was my choice.

Although we would truly appreciate it,

If you would raise your voice.

There are millions of children just like me,

Whose hopes are unjustly contorted.

We can’t march or demonstrate,

For this we’ll be deported.

When I rise to pledge the American flag,

Mounted on our school wall.

I wish you could feel my heart leap,

When I speak “liberty and justice for all.”

My heart, it sings a song throughout each day,

It’s I Still Have a Dream by Dr. King.

The tears I let my sisters see,

Flow whenever I hear his voice cry, “Let Freedom Ring!”

You might find it silly,

To be inspired by America’s past.

It’s the basis for my hope, as I await the words today of Dr. King

“Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Note: This poem is written for the students in Santa Ana, CA that my wife and I have the privilege to live life with. It is written with their tears, desires, energy and compassion.

About the Author:

Bill is a freelance writer. He is a member of the Christian Writers Guild. Bill has been accepted to begin graduate study at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, CA.

He is published in several professional publications, magazines, websites, newspapers and newsletters. He has been an on-air guest on FOX radio in Los Angeles, CA. He is the author of two manuscripts, presently under consideration for publication. Bill earned a Bachelors and Masters degree at Washington State University. He has taught at the university and community college level. He has extensive public speaking experience and has led seminars throughout the United States.

Bill and Jacki make their home in southern California. They have 4 children and three grandchildren. They have three adopted Greyhounds, Dollar, Folsom and Boonie (who would be terribly disappointed if they weren’t mentioned here).

Bill is an outspoken advocate and activist for U.S. immigration policy reform. Bill and his wife volunteer working with young adults ages 14-22. The Minnie Street neighborhood in Santa Ana, CA that is considered to be one of the most densely populated areas in the United States. Approximately eighty percent of the residents are Hispanic and twenty percent are Cambodian. Historically Minnie Street has been known for its high crime rate, gang activity, drug activity, violence and devastating poverty. Their work focuses on enhancing the lives of children, teens and young adults residing in this area by working together to make their dreams and hopes a reality.

In September 2004, Santa Ana, CA was ranked as the #1 Toughest City in America to make ends meet based upon the results of a national study conducted by the Nelson A. Rockefeller School of Government in Rochester, NY.

Articles: about Saturday Night Live and the lives of these students can be found at www.justjesus.us (click on “Saturday Night Live Ministry”) with a digital photo library at www.flickr.com/photos/snlsna.

Copyright (c) 2005 by Bill Dahl. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author. All rights reserved. Rights for publishing this article, in part or its entirety, in other languages, audio and any other form are contracted to Bill Dahl.

Requests for permission to make copies of or transmit, reprint any part of this work should be mailed to: Bill Dahl, 26 Crivelli Aisle Irvine, CA 92606.

Telephone: 949-553-8904

(c) 2005

By Bill Dahl