Another citizen of the world and the heartthrob of many undocumented students (regardless of gender) across the United States, Tam Tran is the brilliant, beautiful and bold undocumented student who testified for the federal DREAM Act in 2007. Lately, she has been making waves through her work at the Brown (University) Immigrant Rights Coalition and her amazing film-making abilities showcased at different DREAM Act teach-ins across the country.
Most attractive trait – She’s quite low-key and doesn’t do the whole ‘celebrity;; thing. Tam would rather remain behind the camera than be in front of it.
The icing on the cake – She can be as out as possible because she is stateless and has nowhere to be deported to. Her parents fled Vietman after the fall of Saigon and were unfortunately picked up by a German boat instead of an American one.Â She was born in Germany but since Germany does not confer birthright citizenship , and Tam is not a Vietnamese national, neither country would take her.Â It brings in a new element to ‘go back to your country’ doesn’t it? There is no country to deport Tam to — she belongs in the United States where she has lived, grown up, gone to school for the past two decades.
Valuable life lesson for Dreamies: The lowlives at ICE felt so threatened by Tam Tran that they targeted her parents for deportation right after her testimony in front of Congress. Fortunately, due to the connections Tam had built in the echelons of power, her parents were let go in a matter of days but not before standing the humiliation of being shackled with electronic ankle monitoring bracelets. Read Deporting Dissent and Welcome to the Police State for more on this story. As undocumented migrant youth, we have come to realize that at this point, privacy and anonymity might be our biggest enemy. It’s better to be ‘connected’ to the movement and to be at the center of it than to be isolated. There’s incredible power in numbers and empowerment in group solidarity. And we can build that through networking.
Currently, Tam is doing doctorate level work in American Studies at Brown University. Maybe when she finally gets a PhD in American Studies, the U.S. government might confer her the arbitrary wand of ‘citizenship’ to give her full civil rights.
Read more on Tam at the Brown Daily Herald