Unai Montes-Irueste


Why It's Up to Us to Change the Future For Undocumented Youth

Together let's create a path to citizenship for undocumented individuals, students, and their families.

Imagine you are a young man of color holding a can of red spray paint because you are touching up some of your artwork. A law enforcement vehicle drives up toward you. Two officers step out, ask you to stop what you're doing, and instruct you to provide them with a copy of your driver's license. You don't have one because even though you've spent years in this country, attending schools where each morning you pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, technically, you're undocumented—an American in every way except for on paper, and unfortunately it's only the paper that counts.

This happens in front of your home so your barefoot mother runs out. Despite her corroboration of your name and age—and her willingness to produce an ID bearing her name, age, and address—the officers put you in the back of the patrol car. They insist your profile matches that of a suspect they've been looking for, but after searching your person, the contents of your cell phone, and everything else they see fit to examine, they are unable to find any evidence. But you're still in the back of the police car. They won't let you go.

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