Selena Gomez tells story of her own family's border crossing in powerful letter
Pop-star, Selena Gomez, has said she feels responsible as a Mexican-American woman to use her platform to speak for those who have been stripped of their voice. And she did so in a powerful op-ed about America's immigration crisis, detailing her family's own experiences of being undocumented immigrants.
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The op-ed, which was published in TIME magazine on Tuesday, begins, "In the 1970s, my aunt crossed the border from Mexico to the United States hidden in the back of a truck. My grandparents followed, and my father was born in Texas soon after. In 1992, I was born a U.S. citizen thanks to their bravery and sacrifice."
"Over the past four decades, members of my family have worked hard to gain United States citizenship. 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. But when I read the news headlines or see debates about immigration rage on social media, I feel afraid for those in similar situations. I feel afraid for my country."
Gomez went onto acknowledge that she is no expert on the topic, but asserted that immigration is a "human issues" and that the country must "listen" to those who are affected.
"Immigration goes beyond politics and headlines," she continued. "It is a human issue, affecting real people, dismantling real lives."
“How we deal with it speaks to our humanity, our empathy, our compassion. How we treat our fellow human beings defines who we are.”
The erstwhile Disney star also shared that she was approached back in 2017 to be an executive producer for a Netflix series, called Living Undocumented, which tracks eight immigrant families in the US facing potential deportation.
Per Gomez, she became emotional watching footage from the series because it captured the "shame, uncertainty and fear" that her own family endured. It did, however, she added, "[capture] the hope, optimism, and patriotism so many undocumented immigrants still hold in their hearts despite the hell they go through."
And while the singer is prepared for the backlash taking this stance may incite, she says that the criticism is "nothing compared to what undocumented immigrants face every day".