Ayling Dominguez’S ‘Status’: “In Debates Surrounding Immigration Reform, the Pure, Simple, Tried and True Humanity of it All is Often Forgotten or Pushed Out of the Picture”


Migration is a natural occurrence. And yet, in debates surrounding immigration reform, the pure, simple, tried and true humanity of it all is often forgotten or pushed out of the picture. As a product of migration, I am determined not to let that happen. 


A suited up white man on Capitol Hill may very well think he is doing good in opening the doors for immigrants to temporarily enter the country in refuge. “They won’t be here forever, after all.” What he does not foresee or understand is the profound inconstrainability of human life. Things change. Families are born. Roots are put down. Seeds are sown.


They think they are offering safety. First — there is more to immigration and asylum than the difficulty of obtaining status. What of the immense hurdles to be faced *after* one touches U.S. land as a non-citizen? TPS comes with no shield from the discrimination, the slurs, the potential for exploitation, the lack of familiarity and sense of belonging... Second — protection, but from whom? They think they are rescuing people from the countries which they depart. Can that be said when it is they who intervened, who meddled, who pulled puppet strings and funneled money and ammunition from far away, safe in their offices.


To categorize and differentiate citizens from immigrants. To formally assign privilege and lack thereof. To ignore humanity. To view one only in terms of their contributions. Need I say more?




Ayling Dominguez is a student at the University of Chicago, though she is proud to call New York her home. Home is where the plátanos maduros and pan dulce are, after all. A daughter of immigrants, her work explores identity, family, first-generation experiences, politics, and the crazy, difficult beauty of living between three cultures (Dominican, Mexican, and that of the U.S.).

Follow her on Instagram @aylingfromtheblock

Read some more of her work in Mural Magazine