WASHINGTON — Melissa Padilla was doing research on immigration in her university library at Dartmouth College when she noticed the term “illegal aliens” popping up again and again. The more she saw it, the angrier she became.
“This term, and the way people used it to criminalize the choices our parents made in order to provide us with better lives, completely detracts from the brave choices and obstacles we overcame in order to survive,” said Ms. Padilla, 26, who was an undocumented immigrant for 15 years after her parents brought her to the United States from Mexico when she was 7. “I’m not illegal. I’m a survivor that continues to work toward a better future.”
Ms. Padilla joined with Dartmouth students at the Coalition for Immigration Reform, Equality and Dreamers, and they have spent more than two years petitioning the Library of Congress to remove “illegal alien” from its subject headings. [more]