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"The Documented"

This multimedia project documents the stories of Michigan State University students who are new U.S. citizens who deal with the undocumented status of family or international students who face persistent uncertainty that they will not be allowed to enter the country because of new travel bans. This initiative captures the joy of belonging and the heartache of separation because of deportation. The hope is this website is a window into the realities of immigrants and migrants, documented and undocumented, refugees and those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status as well as international students as they pursue a better life in the form of a college degree.

Why this project?

By Faye Kollig, an MSU Media & Information student who worked on this project:

 In 2012, President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals order made it possible for children of those who immigrated illegally to be temporarily protected from deportation and allowed to work. The young people, under 31, found asylum in DACA, and although it didn’t give them a path to citizenship, they didn’t have to fear for their safety, education,and work. During the 2016 election, the desire to build a wall on the southern border of the United States turned immigrants into illegal aliens to some. 

This documentary is necessary because immigration is not a faceless issue nor is it a temporal issue that will blow over once a wall is built or a new president elected. The issue with immigration lies in its difficult and unfeeling process. By giving those who want to become lawful residents a face, the hope is that institutions — educational, governmental, and otherwise — and individuals will see “illegal aliens” as “undocumented” and encourage others to take a second look at the way they treat, label, categorize and often ignore people in similar situations.

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