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Even legal US immigrants feel 'uncertainty, isolation'

“My migration journey feels like a long wait at the doctor’s office,” said Edna Sabino, a pre-school teacher in Jersey City. “Uncertain and anxiety-laden.

Sabino migrated to the U.S. in 2003 and was petitioned by an employer through an H1-B visa. She is still waiting for her permanent resident card.

“It is already hard for us to navigate the immigration current immigration system, I can just imagine how much harder it is for those who are undocumented,”
she said as she shared her narrative at the April 21 Panahon Na (Time is Now) forum at Saint Peter’s University organized by Anakbayan New Jersey.

While she has a legal presence in the country, Sabino was among those who came to the forum to add their voices to the call for a comprehensive immigration reform, which does not include long wait times.

“We are in the same boat,” she said, finding solidarity with the struggles of undocumented as well as legal immigrants waiting for their status to be upgraded.

Members of the panel included Catalina Adorno, a student at Saint Peter’s University; Chia-chia Wang, an advocate from the American Friends Service Committee, immigration attorney Cristina Godinez, Hong-mei Pang of Revolutionizing Asian Immigrant Stories on the East Coast, Hanalei Ramos, Northeast regional coordinator of BAYAN-USA, Bea Sabino, chairperson of Anakbayan New Jersey, and Edna Sabino. They talked about their own experiences as well as the hardships documented and undocumented immigrants face in the current system.

“My experience being an immigrant student has been difficult,” said Adorno.

She has applied for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) five months ago and still waiting to hear back from immigration. “As immigrants, our future is very uncertain,” she said.

Bea Sabino, chairperson of Anakbayan New Jersey, said her family has been waiting for their green cards for seven years now.

“My family and I are experiencing firsthand how isolating and disempowering migration can be,” she said.

Anakbayan is stepping up the campaign as the group called on the Filipino community to join the May 1 noon rally at Union Square.

“Hindi lang ito laban ng mga walang papel, at lalong hindi rin ito laban lang ng mga Latino. Ito ay laban din ng ating komunidad,” the group said. - The FilAm