Undocumented queer youth are shaking up the immigration reform debate, at times even putting their own freedom in danger. Here are 9 UndocuQueer voices you should know.
Jonathan Perez catapulted into life as an UndocuQueer activist following a brush with the law in south Louisiana. Perez, who had no record, has since spent time as co-founder and project manager for the Immigrant Youth Coalition, fighting against flawed legislation aimed to capture and detain undocumented people without criminal priors.
Yahaira Carrillo became a face of the UndocuQueer Movement when she was one of four arrested for protesting in Senator John McCain’s office in 2010. Carrillo avoided deportation following charges of felony trespassing and has been fighting for comprehensive immigration reform by campaigning and mobilizing youths to back the DREAM Act.
Favianna Rodriguez is an interdisciplinary artist, who brings awareness to the current political climate facing Latinos/Latinas in the United States. Rodriguez supports the UndocuQueer Movement and has worked with other activists including Rosario Dawson and Pharrell Williams.
Julio Salgado is co-founder and art director for Dreamers Adrift, a program created by and for undocumented youths. Salgado is the creator of the UndocuQueer posters used nationally by various undocumented youth programs. Salgado’s art is inspired by experiences of undocumented queer youths fighting a two-front war for LGBTQ-inclusive immigration reform.
Jose Antonio Vargas
Jose Antonio Vargas is a multimedia journalist and founder of Define America, a non-profit organization that uses media to encourage and promote conversations about immigration and citizenship. Vargas’ work with the UndocuQueer Movement has earned him several awards including the Public Service Award from the National Council of La Raza.
Prerna Lal is an immigration attorney and human rights activist who united undocumented youths around the country to fight deportation and twice helped advance the DREAM Act to Congress and a vote.
Tania Unzueta was part of the group arrested for felony trespassing at Senator McCain’s office in 2010. Unzueta used the momentum of the arrest to help found and organize for the Immigrants Youth Justice League. Unzueta is currently an organizer for the National Day Laborer Organizing Network.
Jesus Barrios is an undocumented gay man living in New York City. Barrios has championed LGBTQ-inclusion in New York and has worked with the LGBTQ Latino community to encourage discussions about safe sex and acceptance. He once offered to marry a lesbian friend to help her with the immigration process. Since then, Barrios has been a major voice in the fight for LGBTQ-inclusive immigration reform.
Alan Pelaez Lopez
Alan Pelaez-Lopez is an artist and poet who uses his words to bring light and understanding to the current climate of living in the United States as an undocumented, queer Latino. Pelaez-Lopez has worked extensively in making immigration reform more LGBTQ-inclusive. While attending college, Pelaez-Lopez was an organizer of the Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project.