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Paper Citizen

America is a proud nation of immigrants—try telling that to everyone on the other side of the door. Life as a white-collar undocumented immigrant in New York.

I don’t look illegal. That’s what I told myself as I peeked over the wall of a cubicle at the financial firm where I worked in midtown Manhattan. Strangers in suits were hauling boxes of documents out of the CEO’s corner office. Earlier, one of them had flashed a badge at me and shouted, “FBI!” just like in the movies. I prayed they wouldn’t be coming for me next.

Practically hiding under my desk, I heard various colleagues whispering urgently over the walls of their cubicles, interrupting my thoughts: “They’re here for the boss... It’s money laundering.”

Just then, the agents converged on the elevators as the CEO stepped elegantly through the doors. The Feds cuffed him then and there. I plopped into my swivel chair, still not believing it wasn’t me who was being led away.

It wasn’t often that I was forced to think of my situation so starkly. I’d been working as a high-level sales rep at this New York City financial firm for over two... Continue Reading

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