The Rise of Being 'Undocumented and Unafraid'

That is a significant turn from roughly a decade ago when undocumented immigrants bore their status with shame. "[Now], people who are coming out are seen as brave," Deisy Del Real said. "Being undocumented and unafraid is an act of courage."

Kent Wong, director of the UCLA Labor Center, points to two books the center has published on the movement as further examples of this shift. "When the first book came out, everybody used pseudonyms – everybody disguised their identity. We worked so hard to protect the authors from being outed," he said to an audience. That was not the case with the second book. The fear was not the same.

Still, while these changes represent a new tendency, this trend is clearly segmented. Those who are coming out are more likely to be college-educated dreamers. They have a network of hundreds of undocumented activists and are allied with legal and advocacy organizations that can offer support.

"They have more space to be unafraid. If they are caught undocumented, they have a more compelling story to keep them here," said Del Real.

If developments in the dreamer movement in 2012 are the bellwether of change, we may be approaching a tipping point in the immigrant youth movement, which is now embodied in one simple phrase.

"It has become clear to me that deportations will continue to happen until we all come out of the shadows," wrote Unzueta, in "Undocumented and Unafraid." "My message to the government and those who still think we will silently stand by: we are paying attention, we are losing our fear, and we are not giving up."

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