Undocumented Lives


My AMAZING journalist friends Diana Clock and Melissa Pandika have been working on a stunning new project chronicling the day-to-day lives of undocumented students from diverse backgrounds. They have shadowed these teens facing of a shaky future as they work toward higher education and citizenship.

An estimated 1.1 million undocumented youths live in the U.S.. The Undocumented Lives project asks:

  1. If our country’s educational infrastructure lowered their barriers to college, what could they achieve?
  2. What economic, scientific and societal advancement could they help bring?
  3. What are the possible downsides?
  4. What, if any, potential policy changes could benefit these students and society?

Shadowed students include a high school sophomore who lost her mother in an ICE raid while migrating from Guatemala who is now taking advanced math classes and actively engaging in social justice movements. Another student walked nearly 300 miles from Sonora, Mexico to Arizona and will begin attending San Francisco State University this fall to explore the use of art as a form of social resistance.

Although these teens can legally attend college in the U.S., the California DREAM Act only covers tuition. They don’t have the Social Security Number required for the jobs that would help fund their living and other costs. The emergence of immigration as a dominant issue in the 2016 presidential election has made their future all the more tenuous.

Diana and Melissa write, “We envision a multimedia project that incorporates photos, text, audio, video and social media. We expect a complex, nuanced narrative to surface – beyond the criminal-DREAMer binary — highlighting not only the day-to-day challenges these students face, but also their adolescent normalcy.” These students are threaded together by their shared hope of a better life. How can helping them achieve that not benefit society?

Please check out the pics and follow them on Instagram here.

Undocumented Lives