Selena Gomez brings attention to US immigration crisis with own family’s story
Actress, recording artist and producer Selena Gomez brought attention to the immigration crisis in the United States by opening up about her family’s own immigration story.
Gomez’s family members from Mexico came to the US in the 1970s, beginning with her aunt who crossed the border “hidden in the back of a truck,” as per a powerful personal essay she wrote for Time magazine on Oct. 1. Gomez’s grandparents eventually followed and her father was born in Texas afterwards.
Gomez herself was born in the US in 1992, but acknowledged that not everyone is lucky like her.
“Over the past four decades, members of my family have worked hard to gain United States citizenship,” said Gomez. “Undocumented immigration is an issue I think about every day, and I never forget how blessed I am to have been born in this country thanks to my family and the grace of circumstance.”
She added that immigration is a “divisive political issue,” but also one that goes beyond politics and news headlines.
“It is a human issue, affecting real people, dismantling real lives. How we deal with it speaks to our humanity, our empathy, our compassion,” she said. “How we treat our fellow human beings defines who we are.”
Gomez also said she does not claim to be an expert, but understands that the system is flawed, and rules and regulations are needed. However, she noted that Americans should remember that the United States was “formed by people who came from other countries.”
“I’m concerned about the way people are being treated in my country,” she said. “As a Mexican-American woman I feel a responsibility to use my platform to be a voice for people who are too afraid to speak.”
Today, Gomez is using her voice and influence by bringing attention to the immigration crisis in the US. In 2017, she signed on as executive producer of “Living Undocumented,” a documentary series on Netflix about eight immigrant families in the US. Gomez admitted that she anticipated the different kinds of criticism she might get upon taking on the project, but said even the worst criticism is nothing when held against the realities that undocumented immigrants go through day in and day out.
“Fear shouldn’t stop us from getting involved and educating ourselves on an issue that affects millions of people in our country,” she said. “Fear didn’t stop my aunt from getting into the back of that truck. And for that, I will always be grateful.”
Recently, US President Donald Trump cut the number of refugees allowed into the country, putting a cap on 18,000 for the fiscal year, which started last Oct. 1 and will end on Sept. 30, 2020. It is the lowest number yet since the resettlement program was created in 1980. Cody Cepeda /ra