Documenting the Plight of Undocumented Students
By Renee Floyd, 2010 summer intern Anxiety about obtaining students loans, unsure of what major to choose, and fierce competition in the job market; sounds like typical college student stressors, right? For undocumented students, these issues are multiplied by the uncertainty of being allowed to stay in the country after graduating. This is the struggle that Southern Methodist University seniors Daniela Balderas, Erik Burgos, and two of their classmates chose to depict in a documentary called Boxed In, funded by a $1,500 “Big iDeas” grant awarded by SMU last year. The fund supports projects that impact the Dallas community. The students chose to portray the often untold story of the children of immigrants, who after spending the majority of their lives here in America, face almost insurmountable difficulties in obtaining the dream of a college education, due solely to their illegal immigration status. Things that most students take for granted (like getting drivers licenses, receiving federal scholarships or jobs, and studying abroad) are not possibilities for undocumented students. Many are hesitant to even tell their stories for fear of being detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and possibly deported to their parents’ country of origin. Once completed in September, the documentary will be posted on social media websites like Facebook and YouTube, with the hope that it will shed light on the plight faced by students caught in limbo waiting for immigration reform.