A movement that began just a few years ago is beginning to catch on more frequently, according to The Associated Press. As immigration reform continues to be a hot topic in the media, many undocumented children are standing up for themselves and their families and “coming out” to the public.
In recent years, thousands of children of undocumented immigrants have caused somewhat of a stir by holding several “coming out” events. The children have been known to hold support rallies, stage sit-ins outside of federal buildings and have even walked around with t-shirts displaying the text: “Undocumented and Unafraid,” according to the news source.
Twenty-one year old Angy Rivera was brought to America from Colombia at age three and has been living undocumented in New York City ever since.
“Coming out was like a weight was lifted,” she told The Associated Press. “It was liberating. I wasn’t lying about my life anymore.”
Although she felt liberated after coming forward about her status, she told the news source she still gets upset about the fact that she doesn’t have U.S. citizenship. Rivera sometimes get jealous of her three younger siblings that have legal citizenship because they were born in the country. Without a social security card, Rivera cannot work legally, nor is she able to apply for financial aid, despite her satisfactory grades.
After coming out as an undocumented immigrant, Rivera started selling bracelets online to raise money to help her pay for college. Soon after, a man read her story and wanted to help her out. Luis Hernandez, a retired subway conductor, said he was so touched by her story that he decided to offer to pay for her college tuition. When he called Rivera to tell her the news, she told the New York Daily News she was in shock.
“I gasped. It’s amazing that someone that doesn’t even know me would do this,” she told the source. “It was strange because I’ve never had someone be so giving. I didn’t know what to say.”
The man, however, told the news source he doesn’t deserve any publicity, that he merely felt like helping.
“I like to help out once in awhile, especially if it’s somebody trying to get an education,” he said. “I’m retired and I’ve got a little money to spend. I like helping out kids.”