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. leeintulsa

    @jeff frank: oh, please.. And if mexico jumped off a bridge, would you, too?

    August 20, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Frank ( R - Ohio ) "OH! But what if were illegal in Mexico?"

      So you live in a nice $250,000 house in Tulsa, and since you might have a few "extra bucks" in your pocket, you want to "ANNEX" the junkyard next door (not making any money, desprit to hire outlaws, all the time in trouble with the EPA), just to say "we're family" or I got it all.
      You have no concept of money. You do not realize this country (even though now we have a higher debt cieling) is still bankrupt. I already know who you're voting for next year..that is if you al all ever vote.

      August 20, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Ba'al

    Who do you think built America, picked fruit, mowed lawns, and so on before the illegal aliens from S of the border flooded in?
    I used to pick peanuts back home in Pearsall, Texas as a teenager. Was a good minimum wage paying job in the early 1980s. Then the illegals started showing up in ones and twos then bythe dozens, and then by the hundreds and took those jobs for less than half what we Americans, white, black and hispanics were working for. They did not work harder or longer hours than we did, they just worked cheaper and got cash under the table to the farmers avoided various state and local taxes.
    Soon the schools and the hospital were flooded with non paying criminals so the legal residents, now out of work but were handed larger property tax bills to pay for the schools and hospitals increase in services to the illegals not to mention public housing started popping up for those single moms with kids born here and now collecting food stamps and other welfare paid for by the Texas taxpayers.
    Police did what they could but it was like trying to catch a tidal wave with a thimble.

    August 20, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. gung hoe

    Lee IM A OKIE from tulsa I WASNT PLAYING WHATIFS must have steped on your libbie toes Sorry lee but they the terrorist was in the usa for years before BUSH euen took office OH also lee i guess O B L wasnt trying to knock the towers down whenTHEY ATTACKED THEM IN I THINK 96 OR 98 remember when they drove the truck of explosives hnto the parking garage BANASY HUM

    August 20, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. john

    This is what happens when the federal government DOESN'T enforce laws.

    August 20, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. gung hoe

    And BANASY WHAT DO you call it when O B L attacked the twin towers under clintons watch

    August 20, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Report abuse |
  6. gung hoe

    JEFF FRANK R OHIO Dont let lee im a okie from tulsa bother you brother my guess is lee talks about it and walks without it so as to say i really dont believe he has that house you talked about Probably sits in a rocker drawing a welfare ck

    August 20, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. gung hoe

    At BOBCAT 2U WHAT DID U GET TO CLOSE TO THE CATNIP OR WHAT calling mexicans the same as us u r insane mexico has never lifted a finger to help us in any no they are not americans

    August 20, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u

      Wow gung hoe, you obviously read something in my post that wasn't there. I never said that they were like us. I simply said that since mexico is on the american continent, that they basically are americans, just not US americans. Are you sure you haven't got into my catnip stash ? After all, hallucinations is a sympton of catnip overdose.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u

      P.S. As I stated to leeintulsa, I was just practicing my hair splitting techniques.

      August 21, 2011 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    Good point, gung hoe.
    He did that to Bush, too.
    He was a bipartisan terrorist.

    And really, you don't need to insult people when they have a view that's different than yours, you know.
    Your POV is just as valid any leeintulsa's.

    August 20, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. banasy©

    *any of leeintuls's*

    August 20, 2011 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    Fat-finger syndrome.

    August 20, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. gung hoe

    Saright BANASY sorrybout that sometimes i get just so frustrated HELL my wife is libbie

    August 20, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy©

    @gung hoe:

    Oh, wow!
    I'll bet that leads to many spirited debates at your house!
    Relax, buddy!
    It's all good! 🙂

    August 20, 2011 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. gung hoe

    Sorry 2 u 2 leeintulsa ok

    August 20, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  14. gung hoe

    Weelll we dont talk politics much around the house weve got sumin good though 25yrs this past week

    August 20, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. banasy©

    @gung hoe:

    Congratulations on your Silver Anniversary!
    Well done!

    August 20, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse |
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