As Filipino Americans, we all know or know of someone in our lives who is undocumented. That one uncle who left his family in the Philippines. That one auntie who’s always “fixing her papers.” That one friend who doesn’t leave the house very often. According to various statistical computations, Filipinos who are undocumented in the United States number anywhere between 250,000 and 310,000, representing the largest Asian undocumented population. Far from being solely a Latino issue, unlawful immigration very much affects Filipinos in a multitude of ways.
In this episode of This Filipino American Life, we speak to Vanessa Vela-Lovelace, a community leader who spent much of her life as an undocumented immigrant, and Set Ronquillo, an immigrant rights activist who is currently undocumented. Vanessa and Set have led and continue to lead complicated lives because of their immigration statuses. Listen as they share their experiences of fear, anger, and hope living in the United States. And like Mateo Liwanag’s character in the NBC show Superstore and Pulitzer-prize winner Jose Antonio Vargas, their stories will shed light on a huge part of our Filipino American community.