Selena Gomez Thanks Immigrant Grandparents for Crossing the Border Illegally: 'I Wouldn't Have Been Born Otherwise'

selena gomez mental health
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Selena Gomez is determined to stand up for undocumented immigrants and do everything she can to create change.

In her recent cover story for Dazed, Selena opened up about her family and how they inspired her to take her job as a Latina role model seriously. She said,

“I’m always very vocal about my background, as far as me talking about immigration, and my grandparents having to come across the border illegally. I wouldn’t have been born (otherwise). I have such an appreciation for my last name… There’s a lot more I would love to do because I don’t take it lightly, I’m very honored.”

Selena is referencing her 2019 essay for Time, in which she wrote,

“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.”

She added that “undocumented immigration is an issue (she) thinks about every day.”

It’s actually one of the reasons she was inspired to work on her docuseries Living Undocumented with Netflix, which featured eight real families and gave viewers a glimpse into what it’s like to be undocumented in America.

Speaking again to Dazed, she reflected on the series, a passion project of hers, and said,

“My goal was to simply humanize my people because they were being called aliens, criminals, and I can’t even imagine what these kids being separated from their families are going through. It’s something that is going to traumatize them for the rest of their lives. And it just seems animalistic; it is scary but I think it needs to be talked about, so that’s where my heart was coming from when I signed on to do a project [Living Undocumented] that addressed such a big issue.”

Selena has been a defender of undocumented immigrants from day one. It was actually one of the first issues she wasn’t afraid to get outright political about.

You can trace Sel’s activism all the way back to 2017 when she took to Instagram to defend DACA recipients. She wrote,

“My definition of a dreamer is someone that thinks big and believes anything is possible. The wonderful people being threatened by the unfortunate reversal of DACA are exactly that.”

Prior to that statement, Selena had only alluded to her politics with subtle fashion statements. But with the overturn of DACA came Selena’s voice. And now, she refuses to stay silent.

Two years after her initial post on DACA, Selena took again to Instagram to address the immigrant detention centers and wrote,

“Kids in cages! Sleeping on concrete floors with aluminum blankets! No access to simple dignities! How is this still happening??? It’s absolutely inhumane to treat anyone like this let alone children. I can’t even imagine what they are going through. We need to get this to finally stop!”

She then urged her fans to call their representatives.

Selena has since gone on to speak out against other issues, particularly gun control, and stood in support of the March for Our Lives protesters.

The last few years have certainly marked a new era for pop stars who once clung tightly to their good girl images. Artists like Selena Gomez and Taylor Swift are no longer stying mum on the issues, nor are they expected to be.

We’ve entered an era where our democracy is literally at stake and staying silent is taken as a sign of acquiescence.

Selena has yet to comment on the 2020 election but if this past year is any indication, we have a feeling she’ll back whoever the Democratic candidate ends up being.

You can currently stream Living Undocumented on Netflix.


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Lena Finkel
Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, Tiger Beat, and Sesame Workshop (aka Sesame Street). She loves all things Real Housewives and Vanderpump Rules. When she's not busy binge-watching TV, you can find her hanging out with her tuxedo cat Tom.