Jake Weinraub

Undocumented, Unafraid, and Unapologetic

Filed By Jake Weinraub | March 20, 2011 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, The Movement
Tags: coming out of the closet, Kansas, undocumented immigrant

Kansas State Representative Virgil Peck is receiving some well-deserved backlashpeck.jpg after an extremely offensive comment he made at a Kansas House debate this past Monday. During the meeting he stated:

Looks like to me, if shooting these immigrating feral hogs works, maybe we have found a (solution) to our illegal immigration problem.

The comment echoes the anti-immigrant sentiment that is becoming increasingly violent in the US. The fact that Rep. Peck for one moment in his mind considered his recommendation appropriate means he is not alone in his views. Peck issued a classic "I'm sorry if you were offended" apology to CNN on Thursday, but thankfully it did not slow Democratic senators and concerned folks from Kansas in petitioning for his resignation.

Local organizing efforts across the country are working diligently to speak out against anti-immigrant legislation. Last week, over a thousand undocumented immigrants and allies gathered in Chicago's Daley Plaza for "Undocumented, Unafraid, and Unapologetic" Coming Out Week. Check out this powerful video from the campaign, where undocumented youth use "coming out" as a way to reject the notion that they do not belong in the US:

My question for Bilerico readers is, how can we strive to become better allies to undocumented individuals in the US? How can we educate our communities so that the people most affected by these issues are not left with the burden of having to explain why they deserve to be considered US citizens?


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OK, the asshat really needs to have his ass kicked.
And actually, this is a very complicated issue. I've know both legal immigrants and illegal. The stories of those who have to struggle to come here legally is often heart breaking. For some, their parents start the process of immigrating and only their children benefit. I've known those who are Gay, Transgender and Intersex who are deemed unworthy of coming here or once discovered to be GLBTI, are then told to leave... I tend to get a bit conflicted about the situation.
No, if someone is undocumented they shouldn't be harmed but they shouldn't be allowed to walk to the head of the line either. I've known too many who've played by the rules where it took years to come here.
Honestly, I don't support illegal aliens 'right' to be here. I do support that illegal aliens do need to be treated in the same manner as any other person who commits a misdemenor, but should be deported to the closest boarder.

I read somewhere he was just joking. What kind of a person is he if he is able to joke about shooting and killing some immigrants? Someone in such a position should never let such a statement come out of his mount. Violence should never be the answer.

UnWelcomedUnLegal | March 20, 2011 4:33 PM

I am a LEGAL gay immigrant in a bi-national same-sex couple. Seeing all this garbage about unappologetic, ILLEGAL immigrants rubbing their illegality into our faces is so offensive and wrong that I wish nothing but deportation for these criminals.

This "cause" of celebrating one's illegal and unappologetically criminal immigration is counter-productive on so many different levels. Americans and legal immigrants will see this crap and be more and more inclined to deport these people back to where they came from.

And the fact that Gays and Lesbians are jumping on the pro-Illegal Immigration bandwagon is sickening. Illegal immigrants from backward anti-gay countries do NOT support gay rights in the least. Gay and lesbian immigrants, who are LEGAL, go through far worse treatment than illegal immigrants. Why aren't gays and lesbians calling for equality within the legal framework of immigration? Instead, you have people like Intern Jake calling for our immigration laws to be unappologetically ignored. There is NOT a single country on this planet with any quality of life for its citizens and legal residents that doesn't control immigration. Immigration rules are NOT unique to the US, illegal immigration is a problem around the world and it hurts the economies, societies and working conditions of citizens and legal immigrants in every country experiencing it. These illegal immigrants who make NO effort to become legal, yet parade around the fact that they're unappologetic, unafraid and undocumented, they're unwelcome, unlegal(illegal), unamerican and should be DEPORTED immediately.

Demonizing undocumented individuals is a gross simplification of our globalized world.

While America's political leaders push a neo-liberal agenda that demands the free flow of goods across boarders, they falsely assume individuals are static.

The kids in this video are not at fault, they are the victims of a vicious cycle. They likely entered the country as minors, following their parents will. Now, after establishing their lives and growing up in the United States, do you want them to return to a country they never called home?

To claim they make "no effort" to become legal is to assume there exists a means for them to do so. These individuals saw that possibility die when Congress failed to pass the Dream Act last month. Rather, they have been forced to out themselves as the only means to let their voices heard. It is the most risky and heroic way to demand legal recognition.

To claim they come from "backwards countries" is offensive to say the least. For example, Mexico city preforms gay marriage and the constitution of Ecuador guarantees gender equality as a human right and prohibits any form of sexual discrimination. I, for one, cannot not say the same for either my city nor country.

The use of the term "coming out" creates a framework that highlights the common struggles of undocumented immigrants and the LGTQ community. Both are forced into the shadows as illegitimate members of society.

No human being is illegitimate. No identity should remain invisible.

theflyingarab | March 27, 2011 4:00 PM

Awesome. Co-signed.

There is so much inanity in this comment that I don't think it even deserves a real response.

Thank you for this and i completely agree with you. I keep wanting to see organizing that connects the children of undocumented parents with the children of queer parents and the children of parents in prison and talks about all of the ways in which it is unsafe to tell the truth about your families. Thank you for this posting.

UnWelcomedUnLegal | March 20, 2011 11:24 PM

"Demonizing undocumented individuals is a gross simplification of our globalized world."

They're breaking the law, this is a fact pure and simple. If this is demonizing "undocumented individuals" then so BE IT. They're not in the country legally and they're celebrating their illegaly unappologetically. This is brazen behavior to say the least. Deport them.

"The kids in this video are not at fault, they are the victims of a vicious cycle."

Once they are adults, they should either a. go back to their country of origin or b. they should seek the services of an immigration attorney and work with due dilligence to become legal.

"They likely entered the country as minors, following their parents will."

They're the collateral damage of their parents' illegal and criminal behavior. This is unfortunate, but they're continuing the criminal behavior and by doing these kinds of videos they're insulting citizens and legal immigrants. Deport them.

"Now, after establishing their lives and growing up in the United States, do you want them to return to a country they never called home?"

I am a LEGAL Immigrant who has had to go through hoolah hoops like a circus poodle, by allowing these criminals to run free, to shove their illegal and criminal behavior in my face, this is an insult. Deport them.

"To claim they make "no effort" to become legal is to assume there exists a means for them to do so."

Yes there is ways for them to become legal, there are a plethora of different kinds of visas out there and if they'd employ an immigration attorney, they could easily find one that suits their situation. They'd have to drop the cause célèbre of the stupid "dream" act(more like a nightmare).

"These individuals saw that possibility die when Congress failed to pass the Dream Act last month. Rather, they have been forced to out themselves as the only means to let their voices heard."

Booo Hooo. The dream act would make it easier for illegal immigrants and their kids to become legal via loopholes. It would codify a loophole, and it would hurt American workers, citizens, legal immigrants and our economy. There are already too many illegal immigrants who exploit their children as anchor babies. The "Dream"(nightmare) act would make it easier for parents to exploit their kids.

"It is the most risky and heroic way to demand legal recognition."

As someone who is going into Immigration and Civil Rights Law, seeing these kinds of videos makes me want to deport these criminals even more. If they're so unaffraid and unappologetic, then they deserve to be deported without a moment's hesitation. They show NO remorse for breaking the law. And every single country that is worth a damn, has immigration rules and restrictions.

"To claim they come from "backwards countries" is offensive to say the least."

Facts aren't always politicaly correct, but they're still facts.

"For example, Mexico city preforms gay marriage and the constitution of Ecuador guarantees gender equality as a human right and prohibits any form of sexual discrimination."

Did I say Mexico or Ecuador? He dicho México o el Ecuador? NO.

"I, for one, cannot not say the same for either my city nor country."

Then perhaps you should work on EQUAL rights and marriage equality for AMERICANS who happen to be gay or lesbian, instead of wasting your time on illegal/criminal immigrants.

"The use of the term "coming out" creates a framework that highlights the common struggles of undocumented immigrants and the LGTQ community."

Gays and lesbians aren't committing a crime by being gay or lesbian. We worked within our legal framework to overthrow sodomy laws. And we're(myself included) are working within the legal framework to invalidate DOMA which will allow gay immigrants and bi-nationals to equal treatment in the LEGAL immigration system. Illegal immigrants and gays have NOTHING in common.

"Both are forced into the shadows as illegitimate members of society."

Illegal/criminal immigrants are CRIMINALS and they're hiding in the shaddows because they're illegal. Gays and lesbians are hiding in the shaddows because we're hated because of what we are. Illegal immigration is a crime in EVERY SINGLE COUNTRY ON THE PLANET!!!!!!!!!!!! And those who break the law should be punished. And in this case DEPORTED!!

"No human being is illegitimate."

Noone is saying that being an immigrant is "illegitimate" this is a false equivalency. But there are people who break the law and are criminals. Criminals break the law and by breaking the law there is a penalty. When you break the law concerning immigration you are tried and punished. The punishment is DEPORTATION.

"No identity should remain invisible."

If someone "identifies" as a criminal and shoves everyone's face in it, then they deserve to be punished. This is how the law works.

FURTHERMORE, if all these child criminals wanted to be legal, they could easily speak to immigration attorneys and find a way to get the process started. Instead, they would rather celebrate their crime's and be unappologetic. I say DEPORT them immediately. ALSO, gay and lesbian couples who are working within the INS's legal system, they're being treated unequally, even while they're working in good faith to be legal. Illegal immigrant scum like these unappologetic criminals in the video, they're just wanting to destroy our legal immigration system so the entire third world can swamp America. But gay immigrants, who do the RIGHT thing, bi-national couples who simply want equal treatment under the existing law, they and their plight are being ignored by radical "Queer" extremists who care more about illegal/criminal immigrants and their kids, then they do about gays and lesbians.

There is NOT a single country on this planet that doesn't have immigration restrictions. And yet, even when the American people are suffering with double digit unemployment, social services being cut, and unions being busted. There are those who want to open up the flood gates of illegal immigration. This is as evil as the slave trade back in the 1700s and 1800s. Illegal immigration benefits NOONE except the companies which exploit the immigrants. It hurts the American worker, the legal immigrant EVEN the illegal immigrants and their families themselves. Illegal immigration is a crime for a reason, and it should be punished with the full vigor of the law. Those criminal immigrants who shamelessly broadcast their illegal status, like these delinquints in this video deserve to be deported without any moment's hesitation.

I am deeply insulted by the comments above. As the son of an immigration Attorney I know full well the limits of our broken immigration system. Also, as the close friend to a Minor, recently deported back to his home country, I must say "UnWelcomeUnlegals" post lacks any compassion for the difficulty and complexity of this issue. Furthermore, as a gay male I understand the subtle ways I am pushed into the closet everyday.

As the civil rights movement showed, the rule of law is void when when laws are unjust.

The jobs filled by undocumented immigrants will not be filled by native workers. undocumented workers contribute to the welfare state without receiving the benefits. The unions being busted are among the main advocates for legalizing undocumented workers and reforming the immigration system.

As a country built on the back of immigrants, whose policies promote illegal immigration, we have an OBLIGATION to do more.

I understand this issue is contentious and complex, but your hostility and hatred are not productive to this discussion.

Regan DuCasse | March 21, 2011 10:48 PM

Sam, you wrote "the rule of law is void when the law are unjust".
Our system of immigration is the most generous in the world. It is hardly unjust for there to be limits to how many people this country can absorb.

The laws of immigration are a matter of identity and accountability. We are not a nation of unlimited resources, jobs and infrastructure. Illegal immigrants who find our laws too inconvenient, still can't CHEAT those laws to get their way.
I mean, I'm seeing so little accountability for so many OTHER laws being broken, it's looking like illegal immigrants can't handle any rule of law there is.
It's not unjust for THEM, to steal a social security number, or another name, undercut wages and do an end run around the other standards of law and qualifying testing other residents are accountable for.

It's unjust to the law abiding, who DO pay their dues, and adhere to the responsibilities required of citizenship, to see illegal immigrants cheat and benefit as equally as the law abiding from doing so.

What you think is unjust, doesn't pass that smell test.

I think that the commenter above who's not following the rules of polite society here is typical of the Immigration Equality/same-sex partner sponsorship crowd. For some reason, most of them talk like him, either because they're rightwingers who are forced to recognize that it's a rigged game but are unwilling to go far enough to say that it's rigged for people other than themselves, or because there is something about wanting the right to partner sponsorship that makes people racist? I don't know.

On the other hand, perhaps it's the language around "being better allies" that gets people riled up. Put in the context of such language, it's easy for people to take themselves out of that context and otherize the people who need a different kind of help with their paperwork.

All I'll say is that I haven't ever read a half-way decent argument against open immigration. Everyone in the world should be allowed to live in any place in the world they want to. Of course, that would be a flux of brown people moving to first-world countries, which, if that really bothered the first-world countries, should simply inspire them to support global development instead of thwarting it at every turn.

And I don't have to be gay to say that.

Regan DuCasse | March 22, 2011 1:46 PM

As an equality activist, I fully understand the unique problem that bi national couples and gay immigrants face.
They have issues of injustice WHEREVER they live. And sometimes America is obviously WORSE than it would be say, in Canada or South Africa or Spain. I do know a huge amount of gay immigrants and some of them were granted political asylum here.

But, like everywhere else in the world, gay people internationally are a minority. They do not and will not make up the majority of illegal immigrants anywhere in this country. They wouldn't impact economically the localities they live in such a negative way because their needs are not the same.
Something else is very important to point out: in countries like India, and South America, homosexuality has been decriminalized and marriage quality has been on the table in so many places, I'm seeing an incredible bravery and commitment on the part of gay people all over the world.
For a small minority, this is an example of what such commitment can do to make POSITIVE change.

Why isn't that HUGE majority of straight immigrants, as equally committed to demanding economic and political justice in their home countries as gay people are doing?
They have the youth, vigor and NUMBERS to do such a thing, with the entire world watching as we are watching our gay and lesbian brethren do what they must.

It's GAY people who are teaching the world what compassionate revolution is. So, if there is a lesson to be learned, if you can't stay in America...your intelligence, passion and energy is needed elsewhere to make it better for your country of origin and it's people.
That's what black Americans did here for their country, as a minority and perhaps another 10% non black supporters along with them.
And despite the brutality and threat in the process, they still prevailed.
That change was long overdue.
So why not these immigrants and their children?
Where is the equivalent of a Dr. King elsewhere. Who will step up?

If a young immigrant has had the benefits of an American education and health system to take away with him and make changes where THEY ARE MOST NEEDED, then more the better.
And I'd offer financial support for THAT, if not my physical presence to help them with it.
What about YOU Sam, as an attorney. Would YOU?

What do say you about THAT?