Three years ago last month, a handful of immigrants in their teens and twenties stood up in front of a large crowd in Chicago’s Daley Plaza and admitted to the world that they were in the United States illegally. Their message: Deport us if you dare.
The young people weren’t deported. And though their cause—they were advocating passage of a long-stalled law that would grant legal status to those who came to the U.S. as children—hasn’t progressed politically, it has caught on elsewhere. Since that first protest, about 100 so-called Coming Out Of The Shadows events have been staged in cities across the country, from such immigrant-friendly places as San Francisco to Phoenix, set in a state whose strict immigration law heads for a U.S. Supreme Court hearing at the end of the month.