Life as an Undocumented Immigrant – Rainy Leonor

Writing Wrongs Katherine Coble Student Writer

Katherine Coble

Writing Wrongs is a journalistic magazine that features stories about social issues written by students. Last year’s issue, “Untold, Unseen, Unheard: Perspectives on Immigration,” contains interviews with immigrants detailing their journeys and perspectives. This is a summary of a piece originally written for the magazine by Katherine Coble of Franklin & Marshall College.

Early Life

San Pedro de Macorís is a town in the Dominican Republic where geographic beauty contrasts with poverty and violence. Despite this, Rainy Leonor felt happy thanks to strong bonds with her family and community. She lived with her grandmother and six other children after her father moved to the United States. After her sixth birthday, Rainy’s father and grandmother arranged for her and her younger brother to immigrate to New York City in 2002.

A New World and New Discoveries

The unfamiliar city and language barrier were intimidating for an immigrant like Rainy. Her cousins assisted her with learning English, and her aunt played American artists like Alicia Keys and Eminem. Rainy’s father was arrested for drug charges the same year she arrived, and was deported in 2007.

From there, her aunts and uncles raised her while she moved between New York, Reading, and Virginia. Rainy began to feel like a burden to her family, and at 13 she learned of her undocumented immigrant status. This made financial aid for college and a obtaining a driver’s license impossible. Rainy felt robbed of a childhood.

Rainy’s father called after she graduated high school, but Rainy responded with anger. She yelled at him, said she hated him and blamed him for her difficult upbringing. But her father understood. He was naïve and impatient. He desperately wanted to be with his children, so he ignored the long-term consequences of his short-term actions. Rainy regretted her outburst to her father and empathizes with parents in similar situations.

Hope Arrives

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) gave Rainy and other immigrants hope. She saved money to pay the application fee by babysitting and cleaning houses. She got a job at Burger King and enrolled at Reading Area Community College with a DACA scholarship.

Rainy now works as a community organizer at Make the Road Pennsylvania. She hopes to attend law school and work as an immigration lawyer as a way to help her people and her community.

Future

Despite still being an undocumented immigrant, Rainy has come to terms with her life and is proud to have immigrated. She enjoys her life in America, but advises her siblings to immigrate legally. Although the future of DACA is uncertain, Rainy remains optimistic and continues to aid her community.

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Writing Wrongs Immigrant Issue 2017


Writing Wrongs: Troy Harris’s Story

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Kristen Cervenak

Writing Wrongs is a journalistic magazine that features stories about social issues written by students. Last year’s issue, “Addiction: Stories of Hope”, contains interviews with residents at Easy Does It (EDI), an addiction recovery facility in Leesport, PA. The following is the summary of a piece that was originally produced for the magazine by Kristen Cervenak of Northampton Community College.

Troy Harris grew up surrounded by alcoholism and began his own battle with the illness at the tender age of 14. In the 31 years since then, he has witnessed more than his share of shock and sorrow– but through EDI he has been following a brighter path. Troy is a great chef and has dreams of entering the restaurant business. He also hopes to find a way of preventing youth on the streets from discovering drugs.

To read Troy’s advice about addiction, check out the full article.

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Banner Photo: Portrait of Troy Harris by Katelyn Bennett


Writing Wrongs: Elizabeth Ortiz’s Story

Photo f Kristen Cervenak

Kristen Cervenak

Writing Wrongs is a journalistic magazine that features stories about social issues written by students. Last year’s issue, “Addiction: Stories of Hope”, contains interviews with residents at Easy Does It (EDI), an addiction recovery facility in Leesport, PA. The following is the summary of a piece that was originally produced for the magazine by Kristen Cervenak of Northampton Community College.

Cervenak interviewed Elizabeth Ortiz, who became an addict at the age of nine. She started with snorting cocaine to escape from the abuse she faced from her stepfather. Her drug problem snowballed from there, and by the time she turned 15 she was an IV heroin user. Ortiz was a functional addict for most of her life, but her struggles increased after she had put her children through school. This indomitable woman was able to commit to wellness after facing numerous pitfalls. At Easy Does It, she has finally found a healthier way to relieve her pain.

Click here to read more about how Ortiz overcame her lifelong struggle.

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Are you interested in joining the Writing Wrongs staff in 2017 to explore the topic of immigration? Writing Wrongs is looking for students from a variety of fields to participate in the project. Applications are open now and can be found here. The deadline to apply is May 1st.

Banner Photo: Portrait of Elizabeth Ortiz by Katelyn Bennett


Writing Wrongs: Tyler Kline’s Story

Writing Wrongs is a journalistic magazine that features stories about social issues written by students. Last year’s issue, “Addiction: Stories of Hope”, contains interviews with residents at Easy Does It (EDI), an addiction recovery facility in Leesport, PA. The following is the summary of a piece that was originally produced for the magazine by Chloe Schultz of La Salle University

At 19 years old, Tyler Kline is one of the youngest residents at EDI. His struggle with drugs began when he was 15, and persisted through a year of homelessness and one other treatment program. He arrived at EDI just two weeks before the interview after being asked to move out of his girlfriend’s house because of his drug habits. Tyler realized he needs to make a real change, and is now learning to care for himself and his environment.

Read more about Tyler’s transformation here.

You can also purchase the entire book here.

Are you interested in joining the Writing Wrongs staff in 2017 to explore the topic of immigration? Writing Wrongs is looking for students from a variety of fields to participate in the project. Applications are open now and can be found here.

Banner Photo: Portrait of Tyler Kline by Katelyn Bennett


Writing Wrongs: Angela Powell’s Story

Justin Sweitzer

Writing Wrongs is a journalistic magazine that features stories about social issues written by students. Last year’s issue, “Addiction: Stories of Hope”, contains interviews with residents at Easy Does It (EDI), an addiction recovery facility in Leesport, PA. The following is the summary of a piece that was originally produced for the magazine by Justin Sweitzer of Kutztown University.

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Sweitzer’s article, “Angela Powell Finds Chance for Redemption at EDI”, tells the story of a mother of three who just wanted to do what was best for her kids. “I just wanted to be supermom,” she told Sweitzer during her interview while describing what started her drug use. She had been trying to do it allworking full time while caring for her childrenwhen an injury lead her to painkillers and eventually alcohol. She found her way to Easy Does It after a chain of misfortune caused her to make an attempt on her own life.

You can read the full story of Angela’s redemption here

You can also purchase the entire book here.

Are you interested in joining the Writing Wrongs staff in 2017 to explore the topic of immigration? Writing Wrongs is looking for students from a variety of fields to participate in the project.

Applications are open now and can be found here.

Banner Photo: Portrait of Angela Powell by Katelyn Bennett