Undocumented immigrants are 'coming out'
Jessica Vasquez, Nataly Ibarra and Dulce Guerrero met through through their decision to speak out about their illegal status.
August 19th, 2011
11:32 PM ET

Undocumented immigrants are 'coming out'

The Department of Homeland Security announced plans this week to review 300,000 pending deportation cases in federal immigration courts to determine which individuals meet specific criteria for removal and to focus on "our highest priorities."

That could be good news for some students who have been putting their illegal status out in the open in protests around the country. Such protests target immigration enforcement legislation or push for federal laws that would give illegal immigrants a path to become residents or citizens.

One such protest took place in Atlanta earlier this year when seven students, all undocumented, sat in the middle of a major road and blocked traffic.

"The civil disobedience we follow that from the civil rights movement," says Dulce Guerrero, 18, a recent high school graduate who ended up in a police van that day.

Guerrero and her friend Nataly Ibarra, 16, were drawn together by their choice to speak out about their illegal status despite serious consequences, including deportation.

Undocumented students like Guerrero and Ibarra, many of whom have lived in America since childhood, use the phrase, "coming out." Instead of "coming out of the closet," the phrase used in the gay rights movement, they say "coming out of the shadows.”

"It is rhetorically powerful because undocumented immigrants are supposed to be in the shadows. An illegal alien is someone who isn't supposed to be around, so to say that you are coming out of the shadows means that you are flaunting the whole idea of being illegal of not belonging,” said Dr. David Cisneros, a communications professor at Boston’s Northeastern University.

The Office of Homeland Security is signaling that it might be willing to give people like Ibarra a break by not prosecuting low priority cases. It's a move that could open the door for more illegal immigrants to come out.

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Filed under: Immigration
soundoff (133 Responses)

    My greatgrand parents imigrated from Ireland, and went through all the programs they had to do to get their citizenship, they also learned english, they preivously spoke galic. From day one only english was spoke in there home. I have no problem offer citizenship for those who go through the process, and learn english, that is Americas languge, jf they insist to speak spanish send them back to mexico, in fact if there illigal they shouldn't be here. I'm tired of my tax money going for welfare medical schooling food stamps. If the people in this country want them to stay then they can support them. Semper Fi

    August 22, 2011 at 11:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      Most of these kids that are "coming out" grew up in the States, so don't come with the "They don't speak English" B.S.! And how in the world are they applying for food stamps and welfare if you need citizenship or a green card to do that? They aren't eligible for that, and since I work for a non-profit who helps mostly American-born people and have had to help them fill out forms and connect them with aid I KNOW BETTER before spreading LIES. When your relatives came to the US they didn't apply through a $7k-15k lawyer, they came in a boat through Ellis Island, you hypocrite. Today's legal process is a mess, often creating families where some are legal, others illegal (in the same household). It's exploitative, and anyone who understands the immigration system knows it. Problem is, our media isn't concerned with shedding light on the technicalities of our laws, they're more concerned with playing with people's emotions to achieve higher ratings.

      August 22, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Miquel

      L_a_Raz_a has pointed out there are funds available to help
      with encouraging new job programs here for Americans after
      reviewing new information.

      How many migrants does it take to remit $21 billion a year
      back to Mexico?

      14,000,000 illegals sending home $1,500 a year

      10,000,000 illegals sending home $2,100 a year

      5,000,000 illegals sending home $4,200 a year

      Did they undercount how many Illegals here?

      "Illegal alien households are estimated to use $2,700 a year more
      in services than they pay in taxes, creating a total fiscal
      burden of nearly $10.4 billion on the federal budget in 2002."

      "A May 28, 2004 study by Bendixen & Associates found that legal
      and illegal immigrants send a total of $30 billion to their home
      countries on an annual basis. Mexico receives $13.3 billion a year.
      The largest amount in remittances ($9.6 billion) is sent from
      California, followed by New York ($3.6 billion), Texas
      ($3.2 billion) and Florida ($2.5 billion). Of those surveyed by
      the study, 24% were Latin American-born U.S. citizens, 39% were
      legal residents, and 32% were illegal aliens. Sixty-one per cent
      of those surveyed send remittances overseas at least once a month.
      A typical remittance is between $150 and $250."

      August 22, 2011 at 6:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • tom hamilton

      AMEN im living in a good country gone bad. out of 50 million 45 million crimenls dopers drunks. idiot americans

      August 25, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      Civil disobedience modeled after the civil rights movement? These people are way off base. First of all, the civil rights movement involved LEGAL AMERICANS who were defended their rights that were not being observed in the south. These people are Illegal – they have no rights to defend. Get a clue. If they really, really want to change things? Then go back ot Mexico and practice civil disobedience protesting the way your own government treats your own people. The fact is, the Mexican government has people who live very well and has a overall disregard for the living conditions of all the other people. Protest that and change things. It's not brain surgery – it's organizing your people and changing the way government operates. We did it – it was called the American Revolution.

      August 26, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joe Murphy

    These people are vile



    August 24, 2011 at 2:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Vyolet

      Good points all around. Truly aprepcaietd.

      September 7, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • csmzntnnb

      8leVaR ynwrakemoxoo

      September 10, 2011 at 5:49 am | Report abuse |
  3. Julian Alien

    Google Ron Paul on Immigration.Then vote for him.

    August 25, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miquel

      It would appear looking the other way has really worked out swell--
      California has been a sanctuary state for many years this is what that experience has gained them by being generous.--
      On the verge of going bankrupt with an astounding $26.3 billion deficit, the nation’s most populous state is considering saving hundreds of millions of dollars annually by cutting monthly welfare payments to illegal immigrants. That’s why California officials, extremely generous with tax dollars in the past, are trying to find a way to eliminate welfare payments to tens of thousands of illegal immigrants. The move, which has caused outrage among the state’s powerful open borders lobby, would save a much-needed $640 million a year.
      An example of who the state cuts the monthly checks to is an unemployed 43-year-old illegal immigrant from Mexico who gets $650 a month for each of her four children and about $500 in federal food stamps and other vouchers. That = $3100 in AID given to raise the Father’s kids. Where is the father? Why isn’t his pay figured in? These illegals are not puportedly married. Most are not married officially.
      Its still chump change compared to what the state spends—between $4 billion and $6 billion annually—on schools, jails and hospitals for illegal immigrants. That doesn’t even include other local government costs such as police and fire, road maintenance and other public services.
      The biggest chunk—$2.3 billion—goes to educating about 300,000 illegal immigrant children at public schools throughout the state. California expects to spend around $834 million to incarcerate nearly 20,000 illegal aliens in fiscal year 2009-2010 and well over $700 million to medically treat close to 800,000 illegal immigrants.
      While these annual costs for illegal immigration have been steadily draining California's budget year after year, the costs have risen and are placing an even greater strain on the state's resources in 2009. The original 2004 cost estimate was based on an illegal alien population estimated at 2,900,000.Today, FAIR estimates California's illegal alien population has grown to 3,200,000, a 10.3 percent increase. As a result of both the continued grow thin the illegal alien population and the higher cost of governmental services, the current fiscal cost outlays for the illegal alien population in California are now approaching $13.1 billion annually – more than half the projected shortfall for next year. Seems they are over budget.

      August 27, 2011 at 3:41 am | Report abuse |
  4. sharky

    TIME TO DEPORT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 25, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miquel

      Why are the majority of Anchor babies the spawn of
      ILLEGAL AND UNMARRIED LATINOS while in the USA -especially-
      must be the ONLY way they can apply for those SUPERSIZED WELFARE benefits
      by creating children.
      WHERE are the "DADS"
      in all of this junk ? ___why dont the States persue them like the Courts
      persue DeadBeat Divorced fathers for the costs to the TAX PAYERS..??
      IF they took the time they would
      locate the dead beat Anchor Dads right under the same roof with his kids.
      WE ARE PAYING FOR EACH MONTH-more freebies Americans cant afford
      but ILLEGALS keep loading up on those handouts.

      August 27, 2011 at 3:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. Bribarian

    Deport them.

    August 26, 2011 at 3:08 am | Report abuse |
  6. Miquel

    Low skilled ILLEGAL workers place a big demand for
    education for their children and have little means to
    pay for that large expense being placed squarely on everyone else.
    Their prescence has been ignored for too long but the
    expense has not.

    Most people understand that given the chance people will spend their neighbors money like its NOT THEIRS-because it isnt.
    When you have a new tsunami of NEW users of our educational system AND our hospital system
    but the same tsunami avoids paying the appropriate costs duely needed to care for and educate their 3-5
    kids... the system will suffer. The expense of education is a mighty one and avoiding paying
    ones contribution to the consequences of large families and their educational demands
    has finally shown the stresses. College costs are a real reflection of what educational
    expenses are realistically PER CHILD___IN A HOUSEHOLD__TODAY. Local City Taxes cover a
    major portion of your neighbor's kids educational needs__are your neighbors spending too much of YOUR
    income FOR THEIR FAMILY NEEDS? The more children the MORE NEED___should Local House Taxes reflect
    more directly the Educational Needs of INDIVIDUAL HOMES and encourage taxes accordingly so that
    the community is not shouldered with these major expenses created by your neighbor's need
    for large families? Why should INDIVIDUAL Homeowners pay for the practice of
    reporting phantom dependents living elsewhere to reap large Earned Income Credit?

    Many illegals dont pay taxes especially when they report
    they have 8 dependents allegedly
    -4 here and 4 allegedly existing in Mexico EQUALS No taxes
    paid now add on
    their ANCHOR Keeds subsidized on Public Aid EQUALS THAT
    IS A whole Lotta Love___ by THE USA Tax Payer -
    the Lead Zeppelin $$$ Donator –American People.
    Earned Income Credit there is another "Black Hole" giveaway.

    August 27, 2011 at 3:42 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ricardo

    I have got to had it to you conservatives! Your aganist any immigration for Latinos but Canadians have have illegally crossing the border for decades!To top it off you have the unmitigated gall to knock Obama for trying to help–blocking the dream act. Then, you have the nerve to court Latino votes-literally begging Rubio to run for vice president like that is going to make up for what you think and what you have done!

    August 29, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  8. Darwin

    Look at them, with their sh!t eating little grins. They'll probably be given citizenship and a slap on the wrist. This is ridiculous! First they come here illegally and now their rubbing our noses in it. I officially hate what this country has become. Looks like it’s time to move to Canada..... legally of course. Sure, their not as rich or powerful as the USA, but at least they’ve decreased government control and increased programs that help their “own” people. What a concept!

    August 30, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Darwin

    My family came here legally to escape Nazi Germany. They became farmers, leaned English, paid taxes, served in the military, and even had to change their last name because it wasn't "American" enough. We did it, so it's not like we're being unreasonable by expecting them to do the same.

    August 30, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  10. asdfhjkl

    Im fine with immagrants so long as their legal! those that sneak in, get lost. those who go through the process good job and welcome. and they should learn english

    September 2, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  11. Our leaders failed us!

    One important lesson our country learned on Sept. 11, 2001, is that state and local police can make the difference between an unsuccessful terrorist plot and an attack that kills nearly 3,000 people. But some in Washington, D.C., still have not absorbed this lesson.

    The immigration bill (S. 2611) approved by the Senate last month strips local police officers of arrest authority that could have been used to stop the 9/11 attacks.

    In the aftermath of 9/11, we learned that five of the 19 hijackers had violated federal immigration laws while they were in the United States. In other words, they were illegal aliens. Amazingly, in the months before the attack, four of those five terrorists were stopped by local police for speeding. All four could have been arrested—if the police officers had realized that they were illegal aliens.

    September 2, 2011 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
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