Fighting For Reproductive Rights When Your Family's Undocumented

My sister is one of hundreds of students living in fear of what's next.

Angelica is a 19-year-old Latinx college student and Planned Parenthood patient. Her sister is undocumented and uninsured; Planned Parenthood Arizona health centers are her sole source of preventive services. Angelica told MTV News about why she advocates for awareness and action regarding the intersection of immigration policy and reproductive rights.

I was born in New Mexico then I moved to Mexico. I came to Arizona when I was 7 years of age. My sister was about 12 [when we moved back to the U.S.]. We both learned English in school.

I started getting involved in activism when I was 14 years of age [through] the Adios Arpaio campaign. After the 2016 election, I realized how much the two topics I care most about — health care, specifically reproductive health, and immigration — were intertwined.

My mom now has her green card, but my dad is still undocumented. I remember when I was 8, I went to the doctor’s office with my mom to translate for her. It was very hard for her to receive adequate health care because there was no one who could translate for her, besides her 8-year-old daughter. I had just started learning English in school and it was very hard to translate big medical words in Spanish when I barely knew English. [My dad] has never been to a doctor in the U.S. He doesn’t feel comfortable going into a doctor’s office because of the language barrier.

My sister is undocumented and doesn’t get the same opportunities I do. She went to college before DACA was created and had to pay out-of-state tuition, which was very costly. [She also] doesn’t have access to health insurance. The only health care center she can visit to take care of her reproductive health is Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood treats patients no matter their immigration status.

I’m also a Planned Parenthood patient and I started volunteering [there] to give back. This past weekend, I attended a three-day grassroots organizing boot camp lead by Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona. I am a full time student and took those days off because although I’ve already been organizing in my community for about six years, I thought learning more skills and hearing the different backgrounds and stories of people from different states would help me fight for my sister, for reproductive health, for immigration — to fight for all the things that matter to me and my family.

At the training, I learned how to utilize data to create campaigns on my campus … and how to use tactics to win campaigns and develop goals and strategies to organize my community.

Not only did we get trained, but we also took action using that training. On Saturday we did some phone-banking. We called voters and let them know [that] they have to stand up for DACA recipients. We made about 2,000 calls in a matter of an hour.

This administration is going to keep attacking immigrants. I hope that congress can come up with a plan on how to help these hundreds of students who fear that their education, jobs, and degrees are all in jeopardy. Most of these students can only remember this country, language, for this is the country that saw them grow. My sister is one of these hundreds of students who are currently living in fear of what is next for them. This is why I would urge congress and my senators to push for a possible path to citizenship for these students who came at no fault of their own.

This administration is also going to keep attacking healthcare. We need to be very informed and to get involved in the movement. For example, Planned Parenthood recently endorsed a city council member here [in Arizona], so I’ve been canvassing, knocking on doors, in 109 degree weather. We didn’t get the outcome we wished for, but we did inform a lot of community members about getting involved.

Now I’m very focused on my campus. I go to Arizona State University, and I want people there to know that there’s a place where they can attend to receive adequate health care, especially reproductive health. Here at ASU, a lot of people don’t know what Planned Parenthood is, [or] that there’s a health center five minutes away from campus. I want people my age to be informed and get involved.