Antonio Alarcón (member of Make the Road NY), a 17-year old aspiring journalist, had his first article published in The New York Times last week.
A remarkable feat for any person his age, Alarcón’s appearance on what many would consider to be among the most coveted pages in journalism is even more noteworthy considering his life story.
Alarcón is undocumented. He came to the United States illegally at the age of 10 to reunite with his mother and father after spending most of his childhood living with his grandparents in Mexico. He has lived in New York ever since, but his parents were forced to return to look after his younger brother after his grandparents passed away.
Once again, Alarcón is living with relatives, and even though he has the support of family, friends, and his community, the absence of his parents is taking its toll.
Alarcón says he hopes his article will garner support for New York’s version of the Dream Act, legislation that would help him go to college. He says he also hopes to inspire others in his position to take action.
But Alarcón’s article did a lot more than that. It illustrated the complexities of the lives of undocumented immigrants living in the United States at a time when politicians on the presidential campaign trail, when asked about their immigration plans, were pitching simple answers.
Those politicians’ positions may not have changed, but at least the public got a chance to hear from the other side.
To watch the video interview or read the original article, click here.
To read Alarcón’s Op-Ed in The New York Times, click here.