Multi-American | How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Readers respond: Has 'coming out' undocumented become less risky?

A student's bold statement, December 8, 2010
A student's bold statement, December 8, 2010
Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A post yesterday on the trend among young, undocumented student activists and their supporters of revealing their immigration status, done as a political act, has drawn some interesting comments.

They were posted in response to a question: Has revealing immigration status truly become less risky for those who do it?

Recent statements from federal immigration officials have indicated that there's less of a priority being placed on deporting people who would have been eligible for the Dream Act, proposed legislation that failed in the Senate late last year, and which would have granted conditional legal status to young people brought here as minors who went to college or joined the military. Some youths in high-profile cases have had their deportation suspended. Is the risk of deportation for these young people who "come out" no longer so great?

A reader named Rigo wrote:

Yes, it's true! I haven't felt safer than this in a while. #out

CitizenDreamer wrote:
As an older U.S. citizen, I get frightened for these kids, but I sure feel safer knowing I share my country with young people of such courage. May God bless them all.

Random Hero, who blogs as El Random Hero, posted this comment:
Well, before the comments section is bloated with anti-immigrant and xenophobe remarks, it's all true. Suck it haters. I myself am undoc and I have more resources available to me through the various connections our movement and groups have made through our activism, time in school and working with other groups/campaigns for social justice. The fact of the matter is that not only are we all extremely well versed in our rights, but we have procedures in place ala "break glass in case of emergency." Point is that we know how the system works because we are a part of it for better or worse. But at the same time it's just as personal as it is political because we no longer live in constant fear of doing something wrong and getting arrested. Once that fear is gone through knowing our rights, we go on about our days just like anyone else. In fact, I talk to ICE agents all the time in Little Tokyo when they're grabbing their java at starbucks. Nice people.

To which AZXyb responded:
Labeling anyone who opposes the Dream Act, or any other form of amnesty, "anti-immigrant and xenophobe," simply reveals paucity of thought. It is as if there could not possibly be any valid opposition. Of course, people who rely on rational discourse know enough to reject such labeling out of hand, recognizing it for what it is: An attempt to brainwash the ignorant into believing that they have a RIGHT to be in this country unlawfully, and that only haters, racists, etc., seek to deny them their *rights.* And by labeling these people as "anti-immigrant" they seek to blur the line between a genuine, lawful immigrant and an illegal alien. Fortunately, most citizens do not fall for these cheap theatrics that lack any genuine merit. I am encouraging my Congressmen to vigorously take up on their challenge those who dare ICE to arrest them, and to follow through with deportation. Rule of law, national sovereignty, sustainable population growth and prudent use of resources all demand it, regardless of the illegal aliens' skin tone or country of origin.

I do wish that illegal aliens and their advocates would put as much effort into fixing their broken countries as they put into breaking into and unlawfully remaining in the USA, which is NOT their country.

A couple of recent posts on Multi-American have explored this trend, including whether "coming out," which among some undocumented students has become almost a rite of passage, is on its way to becoming a cultural norm among young people raised here.