“Living Undocumented”: Opening the door to immigration discussion

“Living Undocumented” is Netflix’s newest documentary that focuses on the plight of undocumented immigrants living in America. The documentary not only features Hispanic immigrants, but also Israeli, Thai and African.

One of the stories centered around a couple who were detained by ICE in a Kansas City, Mo. detention facility while they were trying to seek asylum.

Since the Trump Administration began, it is now a lot more difficult for immigrants to come legally to the country for any reason. Immigrants can no longer seek asylum from the corruption and danger that plagues their countries.

An immigrant must be sponsored by a family member or employer to enter the country legally. Without a previous connection in America, it is almost impossible to enter legally.

Once a person obtains a sponsorship, the wait can be as long as 20 years before they are approved by the government. In many cases, the extreme violence they are fleeing them forces people to consider entering the country illegally.

It is important to consider the circumstances most immigrants are facing. Many times, it is a matter of life or death.

Cindy Becerra, senior, said she is the first generation of her family to be born in America. Her father immigrated from Chihuahua, Mexico in 1984 and her mom followed him in 1991.

Like most immigrants, Becerra’s parents came to America seeking better opportunities for themselves and their future family.

“My dad immigrated to the United States to work and be able to help his family,” Becerra said. “Once my mom met my dad, she came over too.”

The immigration process took both physical and emotional tolls on Becerra’s parents. Her father struggled with the journey the most.

“It was difficult for my dad to come to the United States because the travel was long, he didn’t have much money and there were days that he didn’t even eat,” she said.

Becerra’s mother faced more emotional challenges and struggled with leaving her friends and family in Mexico.

“For my mom it was a difficult process for her to leave her family behind as well as having to start a new life in a new country,” she said.

Becerra said documentaries such as “Living Undocumentedcan help change public perception of immigrants.

“There are many misconceptions about this issue and usually these documentaries tend to talk about these things,” she said.

Additionally, Selena Gomez as the executive director of “Living Undocumented may be able to make a greater impact than similar documentaries.

“Famous people are able to change people’s perceptions about things, whether that is positive or negative,” Gomez said. “The bigger the platform they have the bigger the change they could make.”

One of the things many documentaries focus on is how difficult it is for an immigrant to become a citizen. Obtaining citizenship in the United States is not easy nor cheap.

“Becoming legal or obtaining a work permit can take years,” she said. “My parents waited 11-23 years before they were finally able to become legal residents.”

Becerra said she hopes people will become more accepting and understanding of immigrants one day.

“Sometimes I do fear for the safety of my family,” she said. “I fear that people may end up trying to harm my family members in some way just because of the perception they may have.”

Immigration was vital to our country’s foundation, and the government should not turn its’ back on immigrants now.

“I wish that people knew that just because someone was an immigrant does not mean they are a bad person,” Gomez said. “They are just people who are trying to come to the United States to have a chance of having a better life.”