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OP-ED: My Family’s Papers

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The New York Times
|
February 13, 2013

WHEN I testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday about being an undocumented immigrant, my 75-year-old grandmother, Leonila Salinas, will be sitting behind me. Lola (Filipino for “grandmother”) will be seated alongside my aunt Aida Rivera, a mother of five who works in accounting, and my uncle Conrad Salinas, who served in the United States Navy for 20 years. Like me, they were born in the Philippines. But unlike me, they are American citizens. Filipinos, the third largest immigrant group in the United States, behind Mexicans and Indians, have big families. Mine is no different. Among my large but tightknit extended family of more than 25 people, I am the only one who is undocumented, the sole person in the family without legal papers in America.