New York filmmaker Jorge Corona came to Texas when he was in high school and stayed there until graduating from college. He considers himself a “product from Texas”.
But those formative years were also time spent in what he calls “double experiences.” Corona lived as an undocumented man after his family overstayed a tourist visa.
Yes, I’m from Texas. Yes, I grew up there,” Corona said. “Yeah, you know, I make my way through San Antonio and Austin pretty easily. But I also have a different take on the fact that I had barriers that maybe not all Texans have. Perhaps? They probably don’t have them.”
» VIEW MORE: Why This Texas Raised Filmmaker Says His Undocumented Experience Inspired His Silly Point Of View
After years of living in that status, life in the Crown took on a new direction when the Obama administration introduced the Deferred Action for Children Arriving (DACA) program in 2012. For the first time, he was able to do what would otherwise be impossible. closed to him like getting a driver’s license or applying for a paid internship.
“To be able to do things like not worry about deportation every single day – it’s not like constant worry in the foreground, but somewhere deep down, and it takes a toll on you,” Corona said. “So this order really helped establish people like me in society. This has given us a small step forward, a renewable way forward, because you have to renew this permit every two years and pay a few hundred dollars to do so. But yes, it changed the course of my life.”
Having fallen in love and married in 2017, Corona is now a permanent resident. But while his legal status has changed, the Crown says the experience of living without papers in the US has stayed with him.
“Everyone who grows up without something knows what it’s like not to have that something,” Corona said. “It shapes you so deeply. It shapes your behavior. It shapes how you see the world. So that’s sort of the essence of my being.”
Since its introduction, the DACA program has faced many challenges. And although he is now a permanent resident, the Crown has not forgotten what the program meant to him. Because of this, he continues to speak out when DACA comes under attack.
“I may not owe the program as much as other people, but you know, you can’t help but support it,” Corona said. “I don’t want to let go of that part of me so I can merge even more with the rest. My values are not to be with everyone else who goes through a struggle that is anything like it.”