Tagged: undocumented


Every year, hundreds of thousands of undocumented people face deportation. Under the Obama administration, the number of deportations has hit record highs. In 2012 alone, the United States deported 409,849 people.

In June of 2013, a video, released by a group called Legals for the Preservation of American Culture, urged viewers to support the deportation of the Statue of Liberty.

The video was a satire, but the issues facing immigrant women are serious.

Right before the project’s launch, the U.S. Senate began debating an immigration reform bill that could help millions of immigrants -- more than half of them women -- gain legal documentation and U.S. citizenship. This bill could help protect the human rights and workers’ rights of immigrants. Breakthrough partnered with the Yes Lab to focus on how this legislation affects women, and Legals for the Preservation of American Culture (LPAC) was born.

LPAC’s video, which features a charming Lady Liberté being interviewed by an obnoxious Immigration & Customs Enforcement officer, received over 400,000 mentions on its first day on Twitter and over 90,000 video views as of this writing. When it was featured on the Situation Room on CNN, the video helped draw attention to the current debates about immigration reform. The satirical video may seem ridiculous, but it helped highlight the ludicrousness of the current immigration system in the United States.

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The college application process is a grueling rite of passage for many high-schoolers, but for students without papers (called DREAMers), it can be an insurmountable wall. Despite having grown up in the U.S. - often after being brought here illegally as small children - as many as 95% of undocumented youth in the U.S. never get a chance at higher education. College applications force undocumented applicants to identify as "other" or "international," ensuring them a separate and unequal admissions process from their documented peers.

One such application - and the target of an elaborate hoax - is The Common Application, an online application accepted by upwards of 500 private colleges in the U.S.

On Thursday May 30, "Daniel Vargas," Communications Director of The Common Application, made an announcement saying the new version of the App would remove systematic barriers to higher education faced by undocumented students by (1) allowing them to identify themselves as "undocumented American" in the application; and (2) adding "undocumented status" to the organization's non-discrimination clause. Fittingly, the announcement was made at the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in in American Higher Education (NCORE) in New Orleans and was very well received among the conference attendees. Many, like the President of Barnard College and U.S. Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez,took to social media to express support and several online news outlets following the issue happily reported the policy change.

'Twas not to last. After several inquiries from journalists, The Common App was forced to deny they had any such plans to end discrimination against undocumented applicants and maintained that no "Daniel Vargas" had ever worked for them. In fact, the announcement was issued by undocumented activist David Ramirez, who, along with some friends, had contacted the Yes Lab for help in pulling off this elaborate, optimistic stunt. Perhaps one day, the millions of undocumented Americans facing these barriers will get the good news they deserve for real.

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