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This Undocumented Artist Just Revealed Her Status To Her Youtube Subscribers

At an event in Downtown Los Angeles a few weeks ago, South Korean automaker Kia brought together a league of indoor-soccer teams for a night of collaboration and sports enthusiasm. The campaign was part of the brands continuing efforts to support the fusion of sports and cultural collaboration. Big names like Beats by Dr. Dre, Adidas, and Red Bull were all present as sponsors for male soccer players who mingled and prepped for the event off to the sidelines of an indoor soccer field in their logo-backed uniforms when I first arrived at the event. All of them stood tall in a way that could have almost, just almost, shadowed a young Latina quietly setting up a work area off to the center of games.

For the league’s final tournament, Kia brought on Mexican-born artist Sara Sandoval as part of their effort to encourage cultural collaboration.

Four months before the event, Sandoval, who is a well-known name amongst the graffiti artists in Los Angeles, gained an increase in notoriety when she revealed through her YouTube channel, “Simply Sara Art,” that she is one amongst the hundreds of thousands of today’s DREAMers. In an interview with FIERCE  at the event, Sandoval touched on how her artwork has helped her to develop a livelihood for herself she once thought was impossible.

I’ve done art my whole life, it was just more of like a hobby thing,” Sandoval explains as soccer players who tower over her slight stature walk past. “Being undocumented and like leaving high school, and not having DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) yet like kind of pushed me to like make it into my full-time career.”

As children of immigrants, many Latinas are encouraged to pursue stable and consistently high-yielding careers. It’s not uncommon to feel pressure to avoid creative pursuits, for Sandoval her status as a non-documented non-DACA protected immigrant, art was almost her only option. The young artist explains that as a student in high school her greatest focuses were on nabbing down a job and obtaining a driver’s license. She knew she was undocumented, which would pose obstacles but, as she explains it “wasn’t sure how far undocumented.” 

“I didn’t know much of it because I was a kid, and so I just asked my parents like ‘Hey, I want to get my driver’s license, I want to start working while I’m in high school,'” Sandoval says. “They kind of told me ‘well, you can’t you don’t have a social security number.'”

Sandoval’s status made finding work nearly impossible. To get by, she turned to art.

Big things are coming soon 😉 ???? @calvinaacosta <– Amazing photographer

A post shared by Sara Sandoval (@simplysaraart) on

She started working with stencils and spraypaints and admits to using her art as an outlet for the frustrations and obstacles that came as a result of her status. These days, she uses her artwork as a means of expression as well as a vehicle to raise awareness about the current immigration crisis. On her decision to reveal her status to her 105,102  subscribers on Youtube, Sandoval says her desire to get over the looming fears that came with being undocumented pushed her to make the post. “Last year the whole thing with DACA scared me,” Sandoval says about her decision to come forward about her status. “It just kept on eating at me that I wasn’t doing anything. And I had this audience on Youtube and Instagram that like I could use to like put my voice out there. So, I was afraid, and I was like’“Okay, I need to do something. I need to like do something now.'” 

Today the video has over 21K views and hundreds of comments of pure support and even motivation.  One viewer commented, “I am so guilty of being ignorant of this. I had no idea the pain and complete life disruption.”

During the Kia soccer event, Sandoval worked on a piece that highlighted the phrase “wake up.”

Let's do this! ???? @calvinaacosta

A post shared by Sara Sandoval (@simplysaraart) on

It’s a message that she says has been crucial to helping her overcome the emotional and mental barriers of being undocumented, one she hopes to pass on to any undocumented kids watching. “At first using the words “wake up” was more of a meaning for me, being undocumented, that said ‘come on, get up, do something with your life. Like don’t let this get you down,'” she explains. “I grew up like a lot of people telling me I couldn’t do things, and I was like in bad situations in schools, where like teachers would tell me that I was dumb, and I was, I wouldn’t amount to anything, and I would just go to community college and it was just like just don’t listen to them and just keep doing you, and just find a community that will lift you up and help you out.”


Read: Latina Reads: 12 Puerto Rican Writers Whose Books You Need To Add To Your Reading List

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An Undocumented Housekeeper At Trump’s New Jersey Golf Club Is Speaking Out Against Mistreatment

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An Undocumented Housekeeper At Trump’s New Jersey Golf Club Is Speaking Out Against Mistreatment

The president who condemns the employment of undocumented immigrants apparently has a few on his payroll.

In an interview with the New York Times, Victorina Morales, an unauthorized housekeeper working at President Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, opened up about her status as well as her alleged mistreatment at the club and her personal hurt over Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric.

According to Morales, 45, despite Trump building his 2016 presidential campaign against illegal immigration, including the employment of undocumented immigrants, she has worked for him for the last five years, even being trusted to make the president’s bed and iron his clothes.

The woman, who illegally entered the U.S. from Guatemala in 1999, said she was hired at the property in 2013 using phony documents that were apparently evident to her employer. According to Morales, managers at Trump’s club helped her evade detection as an undocumented worker, with a staffer driving her to work because she could not legally obtain a driver’s license and a supervisor directing her to another employee who could help her secure new fake documents after a problem was found with the original ones.

The report is embarrassing for a president who, during his campaign, called for the expansion of E-Verify, an online tool by the federal government that checks whether employees are legally eligible to work.

“I’m using E-Verify on just about every job,” Trump told MSNBC host Chris Matthews in March 2016. “I’m using E-Verify, and I’ll tell you, it works.”

That same year, during a speech in Arizona, Trump proposed a national E-Verify mandate, requiring all employers to use the program to avoid hiring undocumented workers.

“We will ensure that E-Verify is used to the fullest extent possible under existing law, and we will work with Congress to strengthen and expand its use across the country,” he said during the speech.

Since taking office, however, the president hasn’t prioritized the program. In fact, Morales’ account indicates that he doesn’t really emphasize it in his own businesses, either.

According to a search by the Washington Post of the federal government’s database of employers using E-Verify, only the president’s golf courses in North Carolina and Doral, Fla., his Mar-a-Lago resort and his hotels in Washington and Chicago use the program.

“We have tens of thousands of employees across our properties and have very strict hiring practices,” Trump Organization spokeswoman Amanda Miller told the Washington Post in an email. “If any employee submitted false documentation in an attempt to circumvent the law, they will be terminated immediately.”

Risking the loss of her job and deportation, Morales, who says she is not the only undocumented worker at her club, opened up about her status to highlight the hypocrisy of a president she said she feels wronged by.

“We are tired of the abuse, the insults, the way he talks about us when he knows that we are here helping him make money,” she told the New York Times. “We sweat it out to attend to his every need and have to put up with his humiliation.”

She also alleges she has experienced “physical abuse” by her direct supervisor on three occasions.

Morales, who says she has not been fired or heard from her employer since the article ran last week, has filed an asylum claim after her family in Guatemala was threatened and her father-in-law was fatally hacked in a machete assault.

Read: You Can Help Give the Children in Immigration Detention Centers a Gift This Holiday Season

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She Struggled To Pay For College Because She Was Undocumented, So This Latina Created An App To Make The Process Easier For The Next Generation

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She Struggled To Pay For College Because She Was Undocumented, So This Latina Created An App To Make The Process Easier For The Next Generation

A college degree is increasingly essential to a successful future but the cost is more expensive than ever. It’s even more costly for students who don’t qualify for FAFSA due to their undocumented status.

That’s the problem Sarahi Espinoza Salamanca faced when she first pursued financial assistance.

Realizing she was denied financial aid because she was undocumented the young Latina looked for help. “I asked my counselor for guidance on other options to finance my college education and she said that people like me didn’t go to college,” Espinoza Salamanca explained to Forbes.

In order to get FAFSA assistance, applicants need a Social Security number. Unfortunately, this disqualifies the 3.6 Million DREAMers under the Obama Administration’s DACA policy.

“It took me a while to realize that I was probably not the only one in this situation and that is when the initial idea of ‘one day somehow I’m going to have to fix this problem,’” Espinoza Salamanca explained. Motivated, the Latina sought to turn her fledgling idea into a tool to benefit students like herself.

In 2014, Espinoza Salamanca submitted her idea — the DREAMers Roadmap app — to the Voto Latino’s Innovator Challenge. The app links undocumented students to scholarships that don’t require proof of citizenship.

The idea was such a success. Espinoza Salamanca won the Innovator Challenge in 2015 and secured $100,000 to re-invest in the app.

The DREAMers Roadmap app has helped over 20,000 students since it’s creation.

While building the app, Espinoza Salamanca found a common concern among students. The fear of government agencies learning about their status kept many from asking for help. So, in addition to offering financial aid, the app offers users a guarantee of privacy.

“One of the ways we protect our users is by only asking them for an email to create an account and not asking them for any personal information,” Espinoza Salamanca reassured of the app’s discretion. “We also created a feature called ‘Explore’ which allows any user to see all of our scholarships without having to create an account.”

With new financial options for these students, comes new possibilities. Espinoza Salamanca hopes to help facilitate even more college enrollment for members of the Latinidad.

“We as a country, we are losing so much talent and potential by making it so hard to educate these students.” Espinoza Salamanca continued, “We make it nearly impossible for these kids to have an opportunity to be an essential part of this country. This is our home too.”

If you’re interested in downloading the DREAMers Roadmap, you can do so for free! It’s now available for both Google Play and the iPhone app store.


READ: If Catalina Cruz Wins In November, She’ll Be New York State’s First Dreamer To Be Elected To Office

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