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DACA Recipient, Artist Fidencio Fifield-Perez Shares Experiences During Normal Visit

Not having proper documentation and living in constant fear of deportation is the reality for many undocumented individuals in the United States.

To better assist those unlawfully brought to the U.S. when they were children, former President Obama implemented DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA allows some people brought to the U.S. as children to become eligible for work.

However, the burden for many DACA recipients is heavy.

Fidencio Fifield-Perez
Fidencio Fifield-Perez spoke Wednesday in Normal.

Fidencio Fifield-Perez is an artist and a DACA recipient who makes sense of the last eight to nine years of U.S. immigration policy through his artwork. He was scheduled to speak Wednesday at the Normal Theater as part of ISU's Latinx Heritage Month festivities.

Fifield-Perez said his artwork gives him an outlet to process heavy issues relating to politics and law, such as the Supreme Court debating the legality of DACA and how this impacts millions of lives.

“I feel like a lot of the work I’ve been making recently over the past few years perfectly coincides with me getting DACA and then making work about that but also realizing that I can’t separate the two because of how DACA means to be able to freely travel and to have a practice.”

Fifield-Perez moved from Oaxaca, Mexico, to the United States at an early age. He then applied to become a DACA recipient during his university studies.

Now, Fifield-Perez uses his work to confront dehumanizing labels, criticism and surveillance associated with being a DACA recipient. He uses the phrase “legalities of being” as a way to navigate the U.S. immigration system and prove that he too exists.

“Sometimes I feel like it is not enough to exist because the government is continuously telling us that we are either ‘legal or not legal,’ making us go through hoops, applying for DACA every two years. And it really does, at some point, start to question the legality of who we are in a fundamental way that I think is not healthy.”

To kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, Fifield-Perez shared his experiences in DACA and becoming an artist on Wednesday night at the Normal Theatre during a lecture titled “Legalities of Being.”

Fifield-Perez says he would discuss the challenges of going through the DACA system while telling his story of how he became a professor and a notable artist in the United States.

Wednesday's talk is sponsored by ISU's University Galleries; the Latin American and Latino/a Studies Department; Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program; the Department of English; the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; the Office of Undergraduate Education, and the Organization of Latino/a/x Employees (OLÉ).

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