Selena Gomez pens moving essay supporting new Netflix documentary on immigration


Selena Gomez is becoming a media mogul. She executive produced the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, which was popular yet controversial due to its subject of teen suicide. Now she’s taking on the very important issue of immigration by becoming a producer of a new Netflix documentary called Living Undocumented. It covers the story of seven undocumented immigrants and their families. You can see the trailer below, and it looks like a powerful show. It made me cry and I’m having a hard time writing this. This subject is personal to me as I lived in Germany for years, where I struggled with the language, but never had a single issue worrying whether I would be able to stay. I can’t imagine what immigrants to the US are going through under this racist treasonous administration which is targeting and trying to dehumanize them. It’s been hard to see as a white American woman and I only have a tiny fraction of an idea of what it may be like to live under that threat. Selena wrote an essay, recently published by Time, in which she explained her decision to executive produce this documentary. When filmmakers approached her in 2017 she decided that, due to her grandparents being undocumented, she needed to take a stand. I’m only excerpting part of it, and it’s well worth reading in its entirety.

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.

I don’t claim to be an expert [on immigration]. I’m not a politician, I’m not a doctor, and I don’t work in the system at all. 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.

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. 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…

When I signed on to executive produce a show about undocumented immigrants, I couldn’t help but anticipate the criticisms I might face. 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.

[From Time]

Immigrants are our neighbors, our friends and the people we work with and meet every day. We need to provide them a path to citizenship, not demonize them and try to take away their basic rights. I am so hopeful that the tide is turning, that Trump will be impeached, and that this entire disgusting chapter in American history will lead to a lasting blue wave of change, decency and human rights. I am still crying, probably because I’m starting to feel some relief after holding it in for so long. Also F-CK ICE. I hope President Warren shuts it down without a second thought.

Selena Gomez is a boss and I’m a fan of hers now.

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photos credit Netflix Press and via Instagram

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9 Responses to “Selena Gomez pens moving essay supporting new Netflix documentary on immigration”

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  1. julia92 says:

    I’m looking forward to watching this documentary. It’s crazy because a lot of us in Latin America are Indigenous to these lands. We were there long before the white American. To call us immigrants is entitled as the concept of borders did not exist and our territories overlapped with what is now the USA… real history is really important and I encourage everyone to further develop their thinking and knowledge on this matter.

  2. Dee says:

    I’m really glad that that Selena is producing something this important.
    The other day I stumbled on a twitter thread about all the times Bieber cheated on her. It touched many subjects and it got depressing real fast. She got screwed over by so many people. The kardashians and kendall especially are awful people. Long thread but I ended up really feeling for her. These disney/Nickelodeon kids really aren’t prepared for real life.

  3. Monsy says:

    Everything Julia92 said!!

  4. Faye says:

    I respect the hell out of Selena for producing such intelligent and nuanced content, it is sorely needed in these times. So many people in America see immigrants as outsiders, others, invaders, and hopefully this type of series will allow people to see immigrants as HUMAN.

    My dad’s side of the family is from Central America, some arriving undocumented as a result of fleeing the war (which was US-backed to begin with) and gang violence (partially caused by destabilization after said war). People on the right want to make immigration a black-and-white issue, an Us-vs-Them scenario, when it is so much more complicated than that. I hope Selena’s documentary shines a light on what immigrants go through, and how Americans can better understand and embrace them.

    Also thanks so much to the writers of Celebitchy, for covering this type of celebrity news! I’m so glad I have a website I can turn to for both fluffy & meaningful content. You guys rock so hard!