Selena Gomez said she cried while working on a series featuring undocumented immigrants. She revealed they reminded her of her own family’s plight.
Selena Gomez has such a powerful voice for important causes and she’s using it to highlight the plight of undocumented immigrants living in fear of being deported from the U.S. She’s executive produced the documentary series Living Undocumented for Netflix and on Oct. 1 penned a powerful essay for Time magazine about the plight of the families involved in the storytelling. She also opened up about how her own family members came to Texas from Mexico seeking a better life.
“In the 1970s, my aunt crossed the border from Mexico to the United States hidden in the back of a truck. My grandparents followed, and my father was born in Texas soon after. In 1992, I was born a U.S. citizen thanks to their bravery and sacrifice. Over the past four decades, members of my family have worked hard to gain United States citizenship,” Selena began.
“Undocumented immigration is an issue I think about every day, and I never forget how blessed I am to have been born in this country thanks to my family and the grace of circumstance. But when I read the news headlines or see debates about immigration rage on social media, I feel afraid for those in similar situations. I feel afraid for my country,” the 27-year-old continued.
“In 2017, I was approached about getting involved in a new documentary series called Living Undocumented that would shine a light on eight immigrant families in the U.S. from different countries and backgrounds, all facing possible deportation. I watched footage outlining their deeply personal journeys and I cried. It captured the shame, uncertainty, and fear I saw my own family struggle with. But it also captured the hope, optimism, and patriotism so many undocumented immigrants still hold in their hearts despite the hell they go through,” she revealed.
Selena then went on to describe the plights of three of the documentary participants she personally met with, an Israeli woman named Bar and brothers Pablo and Camilo Dunoyer whose family fled Colombia in 2002 to escape threats from narco-guerrillas. A week before Selena met Bar, she was violently robbed, but too afraid to call the police as they could discover that her parents are undocumented and report them to ICE.
One of the brothers has been accepted to San Diego State University but can’t go because in August his father left for work and never came home. He was detained by ICE and deported back to Colombia after spending a nightmarish eight days in a detention center. Now the brothers are in hiding and afraid “their time is running out.”
“When I signed on to executive produce a show about undocumented immigrants, I couldn’t help but anticipate the criticisms I might face. But the truth is, the worst criticism I can imagine is still nothing compared to what undocumented immigrants face every day. Fear shouldn’t stop us from getting involved and educating ourselves on an issue that affects millions of people in our country. Fear didn’t stop my aunt from getting into the back of that truck. And for that, I will always be grateful,” Selena ended her essay.