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Using Mobile Phones

Interviews

For the purposes of this project, I interviewed a few people who are immigrants and/or have a status OTHER than that of a permanent resident or US citizen at some point in their lives.

Case 1: Clarisa

  • Female

  • 18-30 years old

  • In the United States currently on a student visa

  • Publicly identifies herself on her social media platforms as an immigrant.

  • Public Profile: Instagram and Twitter/X

Q & A

Are you an immigrant to the United States of America? (even those who have obtained citizenship through naturalization or derivation count as immigrants for the purposes of this question).

Yes

Do you self-identify as an immigrant to the United States on social media publicly? (i.e., you’ve stated that you were an immigrant in a public forum like Twitter/X or on a public Instagram page).

Yes

Have you ever received xenophobic comments/remarks/memes/images under your social media posts?

No

Were these xenophobic comments/remarks/memes/images targeted specifically at YOU? Or were they targeted at immigrants in general?

N/A

Has any of the harassment and xenophobia you received on social media translated to events that have transpired in your personal life? (i.e., real life things happening because of xenophobia that happened online).

No

If yes, would you be willing to give a brief description of what event(s) transpired in real life? (If you would rather not describe the events, simply write “NO” for this question).

N/A

Have your family/close friends experienced xenophobia? Xenophobic comments? Or Xenophobic posts on social media or in real life? If yes, would you be willing to describe briefly what happened and how it affected them physically and mentally? (If you would rather not answer this question please write “NO”)

Yes. My mother once got harassed at a store she was trying to make a purchase by some random people because she was speaking [a language other than English] with me.

Have you ever self-censored yourself on social media (this could be for both private accounts and public accounts) because of your immigration status?

Yes. Anyone who has been through the immigration system knows that sometimes the stuff you post online can have real-life consequences with the authorities.

If yes, would you be willing to describe what kind of self-censoring you engaged in?

No.

Since the responses to these questions will be shared publicly, what would you tell individuals who are immigrants (either with legal status, or without) when it comes to dealing with xenophobia; especially as you may have encountered it on social media and in real life?

Help is out there, if you need it: You have to advocate for yourself, and if you can't do it for yourself you have to find people and organizations who will be able to do it effectively and correctly for you.

Tourist Taking Picture

Case 2: Lauren

  • Female

  • 31-43 years old

  • Has had a status OTHER than that of Permanant Resident or US Citizen in her past. Currently a permanent resident.

  • Publicly identifies herself on her social media platforms as an immigrant.

  • Public Profile: [no detail provided]

Q & A

Are you an immigrant to the United States of America? (even those who have obtained citizenship through naturalization or derivation count as immigrants for the purposes of this question).

Yes

Do you self-identify as an immigrant to the United States on social media publicly? (i.e., you’ve stated that you were an immigrant in a public forum like Twitter/X or on a public Instagram page).

Yes

Have you ever received xenophobic comments/remarks/memes/images under your social media posts?

Yes

Were these xenophobic comments/remarks/memes/images targeted specifically at YOU? Or were they targeted at immigrants in general?

Specifically at me, and my religion.

Has any of the harassment and xenophobia you received on social media translated to events that have transpired in your personal life? (i.e., real life things happening because of xenophobia that happened online).

No

If yes, would you be willing to give a brief description of what event(s) transpired in real life? (If you would rather not describe the events, simply write “NO” for this question).

N/A

Have your family/close friends experienced xenophobia? Xenophobic comments? Or Xenophobic posts on social media or in real life? If yes, would you be willing to describe briefly what happened and how it affected them physically and mentally? (If you would rather not answer this question please write “NO”)

Yes. It happens in casual conversation sometimes. Some people will say something like "your people" or "you are one of the good ones" when they speak to my family members. I've had someone tell my brother to go back to his own country, despite the fact that he was born here and is a US Citizen.

Have you ever self-censored yourself on social media (this could be for both private accounts and public accounts) because of your immigration status?

No. Not really. I am who I am, and I present myself as such on social media.

If yes, would you be willing to describe what kind of self-censoring you engaged in?

N/A

Since the responses to these questions will be shared publicly, what would you tell individuals who are immigrants (either with legal status, or without) when it comes to dealing with xenophobia; especially as you may have encountered it on social media and in real life?

No matter how much it feels like there are people who would rather kick you out of the country because they think that it somehow "belongs" to them, it doesn't. This country is as much yours as it is theirs. Only difference between you and them is a piece of paper; and most of them got it because they just happened to be born here. Don't let them make you believe that you don't belong, because you do.

Student

Case 3: Vivek

  • Male

  • 18-30 years old

  • Former international student coming to the United States from India. Presently a work-visa holder.

  • Publicly identifies herself on her social media platforms as an immigrant.

  • Public Profile: Instagram

Q & A

Are you an immigrant to the United States of America? (even those who have obtained citizenship through naturalization or derivation count as immigrants for the purposes of this question).

Yes

Do you self-identify as an immigrant to the United States on social media publicly? (i.e., you’ve stated that you were an immigrant in a public forum like Twitter/X or on a public Instagram page).

No. I don't actively tell anyone on social media that I'm an immigrant; but if someone asks me directly, I am honest about it.

Have you ever received xenophobic comments/remarks/memes/images under your social media posts?

Yes.

Were these xenophobic comments/remarks/memes/images targeted specifically at YOU? Or were they targeted at immigrants in general?

Me, and my country of origin.

Has any of the harassment and xenophobia you received on social media translated to events that have transpired in your personal life? (i.e., real life things happening because of xenophobia that happened online).

No, not directly. However, I have experienced xenophobia in real life (however, the incident in real life was not related to what happened online).

If yes, would you be willing to give a brief description of what event(s) transpired in real life? (If you would rather not describe the events, simply write “NO” for this question).

Someone decided to write "go back to your country you..." followed by some other choice racist slurs for brown-skinned people. I do not think it was related to social media since this happened during my first year of college and I was not active on social media in those days.

Have your family/close friends experienced xenophobia? Xenophobic comments? Or Xenophobic posts on social media or in real life? If yes, would you be willing to describe briefly what happened and how it affected them physically and mentally? (If you would rather not answer this question please write “NO”)

No. Since I do not have any family living here in the United States.

Have you ever self-censored yourself on social media (this could be for both private accounts and public accounts) because of your immigration status?

Yes. Sometimes. Depends on my audience.

If yes, would you be willing to describe what kind of self-censoring you engaged in?

Like not mentioning immigration, or touching on the fact that I wasn't born in the United States. It tends to make some people uncomfortable.

Since the responses to these questions will be shared publicly, what would you tell individuals who are immigrants (either with legal status, or without) when it comes to dealing with xenophobia; especially as you may have encountered it on social media and in real life?

Don't assume anything about immigration and immigration laws here in the US. Always consult an attorney before making any major decisions or after any major life event happens. If you can afford to do so: Hire one to work on your case instead of trying to do it yourself.

Note

Any and all personally identifiable information has been stripped from the interviews. Names used are NOT REAL, and the photographs used are STOCK IMAGES. When addressing immigrants and immigrant topics, I am referring specifically to US immigration.

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