“Out of the Shadows, Into the Streets,” yell passionate immigrant rights activists as they march down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., our nation’s capital. The 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country, for the most part, live quiet lives. They avoid the public spotlight so as to avoid putting themselves and their families at risk for deportation. For many of us, being undocumented has been the single greatest challenge we’ve ever had to face. For those of us who are ready, it is time for us to step out of the shadows and call on our fellow Americans to accept us for who we are. This is my story. These are our stories. These are our hearts, our voices.
Across the United States, over 11 million undocumented immigrants live, work, and play among us. At least 1 out of every 30 people in our country are without legal status. They come from every corner of the world and have occupied every major area of the United States, from the sprawling urban centers of Los Angeles to Atlanta, the center of Southern hospitality.
For many of them, the journey into this country was unimaginably challenging. Every year, tens of thousands of people perish along the Southern border of the United States–swallowed by the Rio Grande River or left to die in the deserts of Northern Mexico. Others, after paying coyotes, or human smugglers hired to take them safely across the border, are conned out their life savings and then left to die. Others are apprehended at the border by immigration and customs officials and are either immediately deported or housed in American immigrant detention facilities for indefinite periods of time. Still, others arrive from other parts of the world, arriving by airplane or by ship, using falsified documents or entering legally, then overstaying their visas.
The common thread that weaves all of these stories together is that these 11 million–the undocumented–come to this country in the search of a better life for them and for their families. They are some of this country’s hardest workers; yet, are the ones who have the least access to government assistance, contrary to popular belief.
You won’t read these stories in the mainstream news. All over, we see the headlines and hear the soundbites, but there’s something missing–the human faces of this very abstract concept of being undocumented. We, the undocumented men and women, boys and girls, in this country are human beings with stories of pride, struggle, accomplishment, and failure of our own. These stories must be told. With the uncertainty in the days to come, with the advent of the Trump administration, more than ever, we must learn to treat each other with respect and dignity and that starts by learning more about our neighbors.
“Outside of the Shadows” seeks to serve, first and foremost, as a platform for the every day stories of the undocumented to be told and made available for the general public, but also to be a resource for undocumented immigrants and allies alike. My only hope is that you will read the content of this site–that you find your own inspiration within and that you find the drive within yourselves to take action for the betterment of our collective communities.
Start here by reading my story.
Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016
All content on this site are the thoughts of the author and the author alone. They are not to be officially attributed to any organization or other entity with which the author may be, in the present or past, associated.