In a personal essay for Time magazine, Selena Gomez opened up about her family’s personal immigration story, which began in the 1970s when her aunt crossed the U.S. border from Mexico hidden in the back of a truck.
Her grandparents followed suit, then her father was born in Texas soon after, the actress and singer said in the essay.
The essay came out alongside Wednesday's debut of "Living Undocumented," an eight-part Netflix docu-series produced by Gomez. The series showcases the lives of eight immigrant families from different backgrounds facing possible deportation.
"Undocumented immigration is an issue I think about every day, and I never forget how blessed I am to have been born in this country thanks to my family and the grace of circumstance," she wrote in the essay. "But when I read the news headlines or see debates about immigration rage on social media, I feel afraid for those in similar situations. I feel afraid for my country.
While she doesn’t claim to be an expert on the issue, Gomez said she believes in shedding light on the people whose lives are have been directly affected by current immigration policies. She said it was the divisiveness of the human issue that pushed her to get involved with the series.
"As a Mexican-American woman, I feel a responsibility to use my platform to be a voice for people who are too afraid to speak," she wrote. "When I signed on to executive-produce a show about undocumented immigrants, I couldn’t help but anticipate the criticisms I might face. But the truth is, the worst criticism I can imagine is still nothing compared to what undocumented immigrants face every day."
In recent years, she has become more than a singer and actress, producing shows like "13 Reasons Why" and speaking out on issues that are crucial to her. Gomez's essay mirrors what she has said on social media, especially about immigrants being detained in this country.
"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 posted this summer on Instagram.
She closed her essay with this: "Fear shouldn’t stop us from getting involved and educating ourselves on an issue that affects millions of people in our country."