From Astronauts to Actors: 7 Videos That Prove Latino Immigrants are Pushing the US Forward

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Following the disappointing deadlocked Supreme Court decision on U.S. v Texas, which left President Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) in limbo, it’s clear that immigration will be one of the defining issues of the 2016 election. As the rhetoric from the presumptive Republican nominee continues to frighten many around the country, the #IAmAnImmigrant campaign hopes to shed light on voices who firmly believe the United States was built and thrives on the strength of its immigrant population.

As Rosario Dawson put it in a special PSA produced by that celebrated 2016’s Immigration Heritage Month, “You can trace back from trains being built, cities and industries being developed because of different influxes of people who came in. It’s incredible to be a part of a culture that’s just still living. What we expect of think about what America is, it’s fluid.”

Below, find a collection of the powerful videos on the Latino immigrant experience that are putting a face to what is so often merely a conversation about statistics and unnamed strangers reduced to their status. They run the gamut from heartwarming scenes of family life to heartbreaking tales of what it means to be undocumented and constantly in fear.


Jose Hernandez’s Journey from Migrant Farmworker to Astronaut

Jose Hernandez is the child of Mexican immigrants. He worked alongside his parents picking crops in the United States. They went wherever there was work. Finally in the second grade his parents made the decision to stay in the United States and make California home. Jose recounts his dream-turned-reality, which is living proof that Mexican-Americans can achieve the highest of heights, including space!


Families Deserve To Stay Together

DAPA would allow certain undocumented parents of U.S citizens to receive a temporary work permit and be shielded from deportation. Meet Mireya, an undocumented parent who will be directly impacted by DAPA (which will no doubt be fought over yet again at the Supreme Court in the next few years).


Patacones With Chopsticks

Did you know that Glee star Harry Shum Jr. was born in Costa Rica? At the age of 6, he and his family immigrated to America, where they settled in San Francisco. Patacones With Chopsticks captures a day in the life of Harry and his family cooking Chinese food (with friend plátanos on the side), dancing to salsa and reminiscing about their long journey to the United States.


An American Alien

Devious Maids star, Dania Ramirez, takes us back to the place where she grew up in the United States when she first arrived from the Dominican Republic. Dania dances salsa, cooks sancocho, reminisces about doing rolos for cash as a young girl, and questions her mother and father about whether or not they achieved their “American dream,” in this powerful and emotional reunion of her entire family.


Love, America

Glee star Naya Rivera makes her directorial debut with Love, America a roving snapshot that celebrates the diversity of what it means to be an immigrant, from Paola, who came from Colombia in 1980 to Xia who was born in the US in 2012.


Valley of the Undocumented

Valley of the Undocumented, directed by Guillermo Diaz (star of Scandal and Half-Baked) is inspired by the millions of people who live in the United States with the very real fear that an undocumented family member could be deported at any moment. This video captures the profound desire of these people to live in this country with their families and homes intact


The Secrets of Strangers

The Secrets of Strangers brings together complete strangers who share an intimate secret about their identity.