Immigration to the United States is not only in the minds of politicians, but also a few Latina celebrities, who have made the undocumented immigrants' plight the topic of new series of public service announcements.
“Welcome.us” kicked off a campaign which can be currently viewed on YouTube and includes clips by Entertainment Tonight co-host Rocsi Diaz, “Glee” star Naya Rivera and “Sopranos” actress Jaime-Lynn Sigler.
Diaz’s three-minute clip “The Secrets of Strangers” shows pairs of individuals from various backgrounds, ages and cultures, who introduce themselves and shortly after nervously reveal they have a secret to tell: their undocumented status.
Rocsi Diaz told NY Daily News the project was “near and dear to my heart” because she went through the immigration process when she first arrived to the United States from Honduras in the 1980s with her mother on temporary visas.
Diaz, 30, lived without documents throughout her childhood until 2006 when she became a legal citizen at the age of 23. “The Secrets of Strangers” was her directorial debut.
Meanwhile, Cuban-American actress Sigler stars in the short film “Broken Tail Light,” directed by Paola Mendoza, about an undocumented mother living in the U.S. who is pulled over by police while her young daughter is in the back seat.
Her character is asked to step out of the car after not being able to produce a U.S. driver’s license. The story hits close to home because the actress' mother arrived to the U.S. undocumented as part of Operation Peter Pan — a CIA program that brought 14,000 Cuban children stateside in the 1960s.
“My mother was born and raised in Cuba until she was about 12 years old,” Sigler said. “She ended up in a boarding school in New Jersey never knowing whether she would ever see her family again.”
She continued: “Immigrants are such a huge part of this country and its distinct diversity. We need to respect and celebrate that, because immigrants and their subsequent generations contribute so much to this country.”
Naya Rivera, who plays lesbian Latina Santana Lopez on “Glee,” had her directorial debut with “Love, America.” The three-minute PSA shows a variety of young (undocumented) people passing an envelope throughout New York City until it reaches a young woman standing in Times Square.
The 27-year-old half- Puerto Rican actress told BuzzFeed that “immigration shows how beautiful America is as a country, how diverse it is.”
“Aside from being a Latina, my family immigrated from Puerto Rico and Yugoslavia so I know all about that,” she continued. “I wouldn’t be able to do what I do today if they didn’t come to America. Everybody has an immigration story.”