If 2012 has been the Year of the Undocumented Immigrant (please vote on this slideshow on TIME.com: http://ti.me/TBcN7G), then 2013 must be the Year of the Immigrant Ally.
The Americans in this photo, all of whom I met while I was a student at Mountain View High School, are the kind of allies we need to speak up and “come out” in support of undocumented Americans, Americans-in-waiting and hopeful Americans in communities across our country. The ordinary, extraordinary people in this photo did not need a green card or any piece of paper to consider me an American—to see me as a human being. They are family to me. They define American.
I write about them in honor of Welcoming America, one of my favorite immigration-oriented organizations in the country. More info here:http://www.welcomingamerica.org/
And I write about them because there are countless PJ Hylands, Rich Fischers and Daisy Moores across America who are inextricably linked to undocumented people like me. More than ever, as immigration reform fills the headlines, we need our allies to speak up and “come out.”
How do you define American? Tell us: http://www.defineamerican.com/stories
Jose Antonio Vargas on his allies in his article "In Immigration Reform, Allies Must Join Activists"
“I was not the only person who “came out,” so to speak, when the New York Times Magazine published an essay on my life as an undocumented immigrant nearly three years ago.
Pat Hyland and Rich Fischer, veteran educators who served as my mentors at Mountain View High School; Jim Strand, the venture capitalist whose scholarship fund paid for my college education; Peter Perl, a senior editor at the Washington Postwho risked his career by keeping my secret — all of them “came out” too. As I prepared to publicly reveal my undocumented status in the spring of 2011, I reached out to Pat, Rich, Jim, and Peter. “You are a part of my story,” I told each of them, before asking permission to include them in my essay”