Growing Up Undocumented in a Sanctuary City

by Paulina Ortega
Also Featured on KCBS

Growing Up Undocumented in a Sanctuary City

by Paulina Ortega
Also Featured on KCBS
05.21.17
Photo Credit: Project Luz via Flickr
05.21.17

Photo Credit: Project Luz via Flickr

I feel safe in my community. Which isn’t that unusual. Except I’m not just any kid. I’m undocumented.

My family immigrated from Mexico to California when I was two years old. Most of my life, I’ve lived in Hayward. The city has an official anti-discrimination policy, and is considering becoming a sanctuary city.

Many cities near me have already declared themselves sanctuaries, which means it’s harder for the government to deport undocumented people. California is in the process of hearing a bill which could make us the first so-called “Sanctuary State.”

When Trump took office, my community took action to make undocumented kids feel protected. My school assured us we were in a safe place, and many of the faculty hung signs that said, “Proud teacher of undocumented students”.

I’m lucky. In some places, undocumented immigrants live in fear of being kicked out of homes that they traveled miles to reach and work hard to keep.

Despite the lack of a sanctuary title, my city has allowed me to thrive in school and be more active in my community. If there were more places like this, undocumented teens would feel a sense of belonging, despite our legal status.

YR Media Statement in Support of AAPI Community
YR Media Statement in Support of AAPI Community