Today we launch a new four week series – part of our Real People, Real Voices series, focusing this time on undocumented youth. Uprising producer Bipasha Shom interviewed a number of young people without papers and asked them to tell her their stories.
I started this series about undocumented immigrants because my own family came to the United States from India when I was a toddler. The parallels between my story and the stories of so many undocumented youth is clear in my mind.
My parents wanted the same thing that the parents of all young undocumented people want: a better life. But, unlike them, my family benefited from an immigration law that ended decades of discrimination against anyone who was not from Northern Europe: The 1965 Immigration Act. It allowed families to be reunified and gave special preference to people with professional degrees like engineers and doctors to enter the country. Millions of people who were previously excluded from entering the United States arrived in the country.
My father was able to find an engineering job fairly quickly after we arrived. Eventually, we were granted U.S. citizenship.
Today, so many undocumented immigrants live in fear of the law for wanting nothing more than the opportunity to work and contribute to this country the same way that my parents did when they came.
Undocumented immigrants are all around us. They are our friends and colleagues, our students, and employees. Part 1 of this series on the stories of undocumented youth, features a young woman named Marianna.