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ICYMI: “’I Feel Afraid for My Country.’ Selena Gomez on America’s Immigration Crisis”

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In a poignant op-ed for TIME Magazine, singer and actress Selena Gomez makes a plea for immigration to be seen as what it is: a human, not political, issue. In recounting her family’s own immigration story, she calls on the reader to take the time to learn more about the United States immigration system, and to have more compassion for those whose lives have been reduced to headlines by inhumane and broken immigration policies.

The op-ed is excerpted below and can be read in full here:

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.

Immigration is a divisive political issue. It’s the subject of endless arguments and countless news stories. But immigration goes beyond politics and headlines. It is a human issue, affecting real people, dismantling real lives. How we deal with it speaks to our humanity, our empathy, our compassion. How we treat our fellow human beings defines who we are.

I don’t claim to be an expert. 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.