Denis Chirinos-Avila is one of the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living and working in the United States, but the right word to describe him is not “alien” or “illegal” or any other common epithet used to refer to those who live and work here without paperwork.
Denis Chirinos-Avila is scared.
The 27-year-old construction worker has lived day in and day out in a paralyzing fear that his open secret would be exposed, that he would be deported away from the life he has established in New Orleans for more than seven years. Would he be questioned in the grocery store? Or on the way to work? Or accompanying his partner, Reina, to one of her prenatal checkups?