I don’t know that any social isolation I experienced was due to my immigration status, since my family kept it hidden and never talked about it. I sometimes felt isolated because, without a social security number, I couldn’t do things other kids my age could do, like get a driver’s license or go on school trips abroad. It took a lot of effort to keep my undocumented status concealed. I am naturally prone to feeling excluded, but it’s hard to unravel what part of that was from my knowledge of how precarious my situation . Probably a combo of both.

I do remember once when I was small, around five, I think, a neighbor boy told me his parents had told him he couldn’t play with me anymore because his parents said I was a dirty (slur). It was my introduction to the idea that people could judge you not because of who you were as a person but the group they decided you belonged to.

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