August 14, 2012
Originally published at NBC Latino
Winding its way from Arizona through Texas to Mississippi and Memphis the Undocubus, filled with 30 undocumented immigrants, plans to come to a stop in Charlotte, North Carolina just in time for the Democratic National Convention. The participants hope to draw attention to their belief that both Republicans and the Obama administration have failed in addressing the issue of immigration properly.
“I don’t want politicians to talk about me,” says Gerardo Torres, a volunteer for Puente Arizona, one of the Undocubus organizers, as well as an undocumented and gay immigrant. “If they’re going to talk about us they should let us speak. The people who are actually affected by these laws and all of the hate and the things they’re doing to our community.”
The 10 state trip began on July 29 in Phoenix, Arizona and will end on September 3 in Charlotte. The group has adopted the slogan, “No Papers! No Fear!” which can be seen adorning their bus in English and Spanish.
“We don’t agree with the deportations,” Torres says. “We’re upset with politicians, all of them, and all of the lies they are saying about us. The Republican Party has been so hateful. They act like we’re animals – we’re not animals. Meanwhile, plenty of people are making money from our suffering by putting people in private jails.”
Torres calls himself a “queer person of color” and says he also is on the Undocubus to bring attention to the LGBT issues that immigrants may face.
“Some people have partners who are citizens and they are not able to get papers,” Torres says. “They’re not able to qualify for anything.”
Undocubus participants — who have not encountered any legal issues during their trip thus far — don’t know how they will be received by law enforcement upon making their presence felt in Charlotte, but Torres is one of the people who is open to civil disobedience and getting arrested to draw attention to their cause. He says that while Obama’s new immigration policy for DREAM students is a step in the right direction, “We are 100 percent sure that he and the Democratic party can do better.”
Torres says the time has come for those like him to stand up and be heard.
“We’re no longer fearful of their laws,” he says.
“We have been living in silence and fear for so long, we’ve had enough. We’re coming out of the shadows in hopes of opening windows and doors for the next generation.”