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)
  1. genomega1

    Obama support among Hispanics has dropped 36% so of course he will pander.

    August 19, 2011 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ghandi

    We must all have peace with illegal aliens.

    August 19, 2011 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick s.

      Hey Ghandi, Why don't you go out and rob a convenient store? Because its illegal and you would go to jail, right? This illegal immigration is the same thing. I'd like to live in la-la land where everyone gets what they want but that place doesn't exist here. We have laws that everyone should be held to, that includes Wall Street and politicians too. They should be sent back home and try to immigrate through the naturalization process. That is the LAWFUL thing to do!

      August 20, 2011 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Stephanie Gomez

      I completely agree with you!!! I do not see the purpose of wanting to kick somone out of the country that we need!! Its ignorant to say deport them all but who is willing to grow our crops???? hahaha the comments on here are hilarious to me!

      August 21, 2011 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  3. WOT

    The country where the illegal aliens are from should be responsible for their ever need, be it food,housing,medical or what ever. America can not take care of the needs of its' own people, why should we take care of Russia, China, and whomever. The poor have hard enough time feeding themselves.

    August 20, 2011 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
  4. Ride

    High unemployment, out of control deficits, out of control health care costs, drug shortages, a student loan bubble about to burst, crime and drug problems too boot.

    Sure this just what America needs right now. More people on welfare competing for jobs and available healthcare.

    August 20, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
    • rick s.

      That about sums it up in my mind!

      August 20, 2011 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  5. SkySmith

    I am a legal immigrant. There are reasons why there are immigration laws and limits on the number of people who enter this country. It is not fair for people to just decide to break the law and enter a country and then be indignant if they are asked to leave. It is not like this group are highly educated or productive. Most of them have too many kids, are a drain on the system, and don't even speak English. I know the situation is bad in their own countries, but they should stay and try to fix their own country or try to emigrate to another country legally.

    August 20, 2011 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Stephanie Gomez

      Sad that you think that way and you are Immigrant yourself!

      August 21, 2011 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. Nate

    No hate deportation is the best solution. We have too many problems to add illegals to the puzzle??? It's a shame but they must go...

    August 20, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. rick s.

    hey, let's let them all in! I mean, why do we even have laws? Let's just throw the laws away and have anarchy. Obviously, I'm being sarcastic. I understand that we are all immigrants but our families went through the naturalization process because its the LAW! why don't we bring the troops home so that they can protect our borders like they are meant to do. Or is securing the middle east so that big oil can build pipelines there a more pressing issue than this one. I don't want to hear about Iran when they don't have the air capability to attack us. These wars are a sham!

    August 20, 2011 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
  8. Krazy Kooky Krakaz


    August 20, 2011 at 2:04 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ken Best

    We should close our border, stop exporting jobs, start producing everything we need ourselves. We have food, Arabs have oil, we can trade that. China has nothing we need.

    The only thing to do with illegal aliens is deportation. They have no respect for the law of the land.

    August 20, 2011 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
  10. outalimit

    "Rick 5" these wars are not sham, but instead a slaughter on helpless people who in a noble move! are doing just what you ane I would, trying to defend themselvies...but are outgunned by both the EU and the US of A. It's the "new world order". To take and hold the oil reserve of the mid-east. The mid easterners are way too bold to be tacled all at once, so they are taken out one by one, at our own pace. So it's the reason for these wars-that is the sham! Queston is, taking all into acount- what's the effect of this "oil grab war" on the EU and the US of A, at present and in years to come?

    August 20, 2011 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  11. Troof

    I cannot wait to get this guy out of office. This is nothing more than verbal feelers for votes. I'll vote Republican before I vote for this "guy" again. If GW wasn't so dumb, I'd go on record saying Obama is the worst EVER. The mere sight of him makes my blood boil. Because I know deep down inside he's not a TRUE American. Biggest fraud to walk this continent! And I put that on my Mama!!

    August 20, 2011 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. the Brown Closet

    We should be more tolerant of people who thumb their noses at our laws.

    August 20, 2011 at 4:09 am | Report abuse |
  13. WOT

    Mr. President, will you please change places with the Secretary of State, as our country does not want to play with a half/half colored quarterback!!

    August 20, 2011 at 4:23 am | Report abuse |
  14. like-new Stealth Schwinn

    Obama is doing what he thinks he has to do for his campaign. I do not want to see Rick Perry in the White House, but we could.
    A religious fanatic as POTUS is worse than anything Obama could do: "God spoke to me–He said, 'now Rick, son, I want you to launch them missiles with them hell-fire warheads, after you pray on it again, 'cause Armageddon's gonna be comin' up right soon, now, boy."

    August 20, 2011 at 6:21 am | Report abuse |
  15. "Rosebud" Skateboard

    Dear Do-
    Follow the bouncing ball.

    August 20, 2011 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
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