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. Tom


    August 20, 2011 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • kevin

      Tom, you're a f&%king moron.

      August 21, 2011 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Come on kevin, could you refrain from using that Tea Party lingo above? It has no place here!

      August 21, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. super man


    August 21, 2011 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
  3. Let's pretend...

    ...like the most guarded building in human history, the Pentagon, was compromised by a big-fat passenger airliner. That way we wo't feel the need to watch the Pentagon's surveilance videos of that day, the ones that they refused to release "for reasons of national security" for years until they were finally forced to release them because of our Freedom of Information act of congress. hint: that tiny little missile in their own video is hardly a giant jumbo-jet.

    August 21, 2011 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  4. WOT

    Who is watching the north border! Wake up people HLS are only letters, your security is in GOD alone!!

    August 21, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      *That's* where we oughta put the wall, cuz that's where the cold air comes from..

      August 21, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. gung hoe

    Sorry bout that bobcat2u Just got a little confused Swore you said mexicans are same as americans Wheras if i was to call either of our neighbors american it would be our neighbors to the north The canadians certainly have more in common with us

    August 21, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat2u

      It's all good neighbor. I chewed on a little too much catnip, and was trying to throw a little levity into the conversation. Peace dude.

      August 21, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Iranian comedian

    "America" is a ficticious place. Show me America on the map, it is not there. I find N. America and S. America, also Central America. But alas, no America to be found. Cal-State Berkley had the same problem when their then-newly developed pentium cube processor digitized the english language. Their computer had trouble recognizing the word 'america'.

    August 21, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thinking American

      The name of the country is the United States of America. It is the only country in the world with the word America in its name. You fail.

      August 21, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Iranian comedian

    For the sake of accuracy, you people should be called The United States of the Americas. But since when have USians been concerned with the accuracy of word? (or cluster/napalm/nuke accuracy for that matter)

    August 21, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dill weed

    TAx those darn meksickans! Make em pay up the booty hole, like us amerikanos.

    August 21, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. super man

    Does anybody trip on the other immigrants? Like asians and middle easterns, or el salvadoreans? We should be friends with the meksickans, because they are neighbors, and they might have our back someday, when another ww3 is in the making, cant we all just get along? R.king

    August 21, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  10. nosponges

    Secretary Napolitano created a new word and classification this week. I understood the English language used the words legal and illegal, but now there is third word and classification "not-so-illegal-illegals." You think we were speaking German where you take little words and stick them together to make big words.

    August 21, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. kimnorth

    The headline asks "why now?"

    Answer because there is an election coming up.

    August 21, 2011 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. without_hate

    Do not come out to fast. The organization for a legal society is filing law suits against all illegals that are given a pass to remain free in this country. I am not taking part in these civil suits but was contacted to support this movement with a donation. If the government will not enforce the laws then the citizens have a right and a duty to take action.

    August 22, 2011 at 1:24 am | Report abuse |
  13. without_hate

    This situation should not exist. We have approximate twelve million illegals in our country. The politicians that allowed this situation to develop are guilty of malfeasance and should be investigated. This is a tragedy for the people that has poured over our border because of the failure of the Governments to secure our borders. They have been living under the illusions that they have a right to be here and this is wrong. This has been to allowed to fester under both parties no one has the political integrity to stand up and enforce the laws. We do not need immigration reform, we have a path way to citizenship for legal immigrants on the books. No reform needed, we need law enforcement.

    August 22, 2011 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  14. without_hate

    • In Operation Predator, ICE arrested and deported 6,085 illegal alien pedophiles. Some studies suggest each pedophile molests average of 148 children. If so, that could be as many as 900,580 victims. Are you children safe with the open border policy.
    Twelve Americans are murdered every day by illegal aliens, according to statistics released byRep. Steve King, R-Iowa.If those numbers are correct, it translates to 4,380 Americans murdered annually by illegal aliens. That's 21,900 since Sept. 11, 2001. Are your parents safe? Are you safe? Open borders are a curse.

    August 22, 2011 at 1:43 am | Report abuse |
  15. without_hate

    There are no funds for social security disability benefits after 2017. We can no longer afford the luxury of compassion by spending fifty-two billion dollars of taxpayers money on citizens of other countries. In 2017 social security disability will run out of money. We are going to be hard pressed to explain why we do not take care of our disabled while we spend at least fifty-two billion a year on citizens of other countries.

    August 22, 2011 at 1:58 am | Report abuse |
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