So you contacted me because you’re doing an article on immigration? Keep reading. This post has been a long time coming.
Here’s a list that you should keep handy. I’m dead serious.
1. I was born and raised in the United States, in New York City. I have dual citizenship, with both the US and Mexico. Yes, that’s a real thing. And if you figured out by this point that I’m half-Mexican, then give yourself a cookie.
2. I have Mexican citizenship through one of my parents, not because I married my Mexican husband.
3. My legal name in the US is Giselle Stern. My legal name in Mexico is Giselle Stern Hernández. In the US, I go by Giselle Stern Hernández with my art and immigration work because…that is my choice.
4. My husband’s last name is not Hernández. Here’s a fun fact: In Latin America, people use both their father’s paternal last name and their mother’s paternal last name for their own legal name. Cool, right?
5. Look at how Hernández has an accent over the a. The accent over the a isn’t some diva request. It is because that is the correct spelling of my name.
6. My husband was deported for the second time in April of 2001. His first deportation was in 1993. Our life, as well as the lives of thousands of other families was directly affected by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, or IIRIRA. Be familiar with it before you talk to me.
7. I lived in Mexico with my husband for ten years. From August of 2001 – January of 2011. During this time, I was able to enter the US and return to Mexico. I was never deported from the US.
And I don’t think that you need to be a high-end immigration lawyer to figure out that since I was born in the United States, I don’t need a visa to enter the US.
8. I went back to live in the United States in January of 2011. My husband and I made this decision together. We are still together today, even though we have lived in separate countries for two years.
And guess what? We are not the only people in an immigration situation who live separately yet together. It is called separation of families.
9. If you want to interview me, I’m going to talk about race, class, sexuality, privilege and gender. I’m going to talk about intersectionality, institutionalized racism and internalized oppression. Don’t know what those things are? Look them up.
Don’t want to look them up? Then don’t interview me.
10. Comprehensive Immigration Reform that does not include same-sex couples is not comprehensive to me. Punto final. I refuse to negotiate on this point. I will not fight for a reform that is heterosexist. Yes, that’s a real thing. If you ask me to talk about the present-day proposed Comprehensive Immigration Reform, I’m always going to talk about same-sex couples.
And so, dear reporters, let’s review shall we?
Journalism 101 Part One: Check and double-check your facts.
Journalism 101 Part Two: Listen to what I’m saying during the interview. Not what you think I’m saying. Not what you want me to say. But what’s actually coming out my mouth.
Have a question afterwards, as you’re writing under a fierce deadline? It’s called following-up with me to confirm facts.
Because when you ask me to talk about myself and my husband, I am talking about our lives, our real lives.
As in things that I tell you are also stated in affidavits, in sworn statements that are being reviewed by US Citizenship and Immigration Services as we speak.
And when you don’t do your job, there suddenly are incorrect facts bouncing around for all the world to see, that are in direct conflict with the truth that my husband and I have worked our asses off to represent as factually correct as possible.
OK, so are we all clear? Do your damn job and I’ll do mine.