“For anyone who has ever felt invisible I want to tell you that I see you. I hear you.”
Martine Kalaw is an author, speaker and commentator on the human aspect of current immigration laws and policies. She’s also an undocumented immigrant survivor. Her novel, Illegal Among Us: A Stateless Woman’s Quest for Citizenship, published in November 2018 recounts her journey of going from a seven-year battle in deportation proceedings without a family or a country and two appeals to the BIA (Board of Immigration Appeals) to a senior level executive with an advanced degree, a father and U.S. citizenship. Martine beat a system that intended for her to fail.
I was born in Zambia, Africa but my biological mother and father were from DR Congo (formerly Zaire). My mother and I moved to DR Congo shortly after my birth and at the age of four we migrated to the U.S. on visitor’s visas. My mother brought me along as her youngest child, to join the rest of her siblings who were already established in the United States. My mother later remarried to an American born citizen, who was the greatest step-father I could have imagined.
“My entire life people told me that I was a nobody. They lied.”