Selena Gomez has lent her voice to the ongoing immigration crisis in the United States of America.
The actress, who notes that she is a Mexican-American woman, wrote a powerful essay published by Time magazine on Tuesday, in which she reflects on her own family history.
In the opening of her piece, Gomez writes that her aunt crossed the border from Mexico to the United States back in the ’70s while “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,” the 27-year-old star shares. “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, as Gomez notes, when she reads the news headlines or witnesses debates about immigration, she feels “afraid for those in similar situations.”
“I feel afraid for my country,” Gomez writes.
“I don’t claim to be an expert. I’m not a politician, I’m not a doctor, and I don’t work in the system at all,” Gomez later states. “I understand it’s flawed and that we need rules and regulations, but we also have to remember that our country was formed by people who came here from other countries. It’s time to listen to the people whose lives are being directly affected by immigration policies. It’s time to get to know the individuals whose complex stories have been reduced to basic headlines.”
Gomez goes on to discuss the Netflix documentary series Living Undocumented, which is she is executive producing.
“In 2017, I was approached about getting involved in a new documentary series called Living Undocumented that would shine a light on eight immigrant families in the U.S. from different countries and backgrounds, all facing possible deportation,” Gomez writes. “I watched footage outlining their deeply personal journeys and I cried. It captured the shame, uncertainty, and fear I saw my own family struggle with. But it also captured the hope, optimism, and patriotism so many undocumented immigrants still hold in their hearts despite the hell they go through.”
The “Who Says” singer also shares with readers that, last month, she met three of the young people that are featured in the series.
“I’m concerned about the way people are being treated in my country,” Gomez writes. “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. And I hope that getting to know these eight families and their stories will inspire people to be more compassionate, and to learn more about immigration and form their own opinion.”
“When I signed on to executive produce a show about undocumented immigrants, I couldn’t help but anticipate the criticisms I might face,” Gomez continues. “But the truth is, the worst criticism I can imagine is still nothing compared to what undocumented immigrants face every day. Fear shouldn’t stop us from getting involved and educating ourselves on an issue that affects millions of people in our country. Fear didn’t stop my aunt from getting into the back of that truck. And for that, I will always be grateful.”
Living Undocumented is available to stream on Netflix.