A national campaign that encourages unauthorized immigrants in the United States to “come out of the closet” and thus openly flout their violation of U.S. immigration law was the subject of uncritical examination in a recent Univision broadcast.
Univision reporter Juan Carlos Aguiar indicated the “Coming Out” campaign is “inspired by the LGBT community.” As described by the initiative’s spokesperson, Julissa Arce, “we’re using the same strategy and we are calling on undocumented people, as well as their allies, to also come out of the closet, that they make themselves known, that they take control over their own situation.”
JUAN CARLOS AGUIAR, REPORTER: “Coming Out” wants as many undocumented immigrants as possible to record their messages on video, in pursuit of a true immigrant revolution in the United States.
Specifically, the Coming Out campaign is recruiting unauthorized immigrants in the country to record their stories and post them online. Aguiar reported that so far, more than 800 individuals have done so. No concerns were expressed in the report about the inherent risks of such open defiance of the law of the land, including the possibility that participants may be subject to arrest and/or deportation.
Aguiar said the project is the brainchild of José Antonio Vargas, a former Washington Post journalist who himself has previously “come out” as gay and as an unauthorized immigrant to the United States. In 2014, while he was visiting the Texas border region, Vargas was briefly detained by federal immigration authorities. The campaign is also supported by César Millán, former host of the popular “Dog Whisperer with César Millán” television series, who himself entered the U.S. illegally at age 21, and was subsequently able to obtain legal status and citizenship.
The relevant portions of the referenced segment appear below:
Noticias Univision, Edición Nocturna July 7, 2015 11:30 p.m.
ILIA CALDERON, ANCHOR: Undocumented immigrants are being invited to come out of the shadows, tell their stories and record them, according to a new campaign. It was created by an organization in part as a response to the commentaries of Mr. Donald Trump. And it’s supported by two famous immigrants, one of Filipino origin, and the other of Mexican origin. Juan Carlos Aguiar tells us more.
JUAN CARLOS AGUIAR, REPORTER: A campaign whose aim is for undocumented immigrants to stop having anonymous faces. Hidden beings in fear of deportation. That they stop taking unsure steps, and on the contrary take a path that allows them to consolidate their dreams. “Coming out” wants as many undocumented immigrants as possible to record their messages on video, in pursuit of a true immigrant revolution in the United States.
JULISSA ARCE, SPOKESPERSON: Everything that’s happened, for example, with Donald Trump and the way people have united and made their voices heard. Then, the best thing I can tell people is that our voice is powerful.
JUAN CARLOS AGUIAR: A project inspired by the LGBT community and the changes led by activist Harvey Milk during the decade of the 1970s. And which became popular through the famous call for homosexuals to come out of the closet in order to achieve recognition and respect for their rights, but above all achieve their equality.
JULISSA ARCE: We’re using the same strategy and we are calling on undocumented people, as well as their allies, to also come out of the closet, that they make themselves known, that they take control over their own situation.
JUAN CARLOS AGUIAR: The ‘Coming Out’ campaign began a week ago and already has over 800 stories narrated by their protagonists. Among its leaders are Pulitzer prize-winning Philippine journalist José Antonio Vargas and the popular dog trainer, Mexican César Millán…its creators believe the hour has come for a peaceful revolution. An invitation to undocumented immigrants who would like to join together so that they don’t hide anymore, they don’t hide their identity and much less their immigration status. In addition to the videos, the sponsors hope to receive pictures or letters that will help enrich this national campaign, and they hope it becomes so big that it does not have any precedent in the history of this country.