You Will Not Get Deported

Why Obama’s immigration plan has already made next year better for millions of parents—and, more important, their children.

By Jennie Snyder Urman

A Mexican immigrant family sits in the living room of their rented home in Tuscon, Arizona. (John Moore/Getty Images)

President Obama’s immigration plan is hands-down going to make so many people’s lives so much better. I think I didn’t really understand the complexity [before Jane the Virgin, the CW show I created]. You know, you feel a certain way as a human being, and you feel compassionate and empathetic. Still, I started working on a show with a predominantly Latino cast and really getting into those issues.

We have a woman on our show, Diane Guerrero, who, when she was auditioning, told me this story about how she came home one day from school when she was 14 years old, and she pulled into the driveway, and her parents’ car was there, and dinner was halfway cooked, and she kind of got this feeling right away, because she grew up with this fear. And her parents had been deported. Her parents are gone, and no one checked on her. That’s the craziest thing. No one checked on her, so she lived with her friends.

Her parents were just hardworking. They weren’t doing anything wrong. They were deported to Colombia. She told me how she was so careful to be such a good kid, because she always lived with this fear that something could happen to her, or somebody could take her away, or that the family she was living with would tell her, “You know, you’re too much trouble, go.”

The image of food halfway chopped and her parents just gone — no goodbyes, no anything. These families, where their kids are legal and they aren’t, they’ve just lived with this fear. For those five million people, that fear is going to get taken away. That’s something I believe, really, we should all look forward to.

Jennie Snyder Urman is the creator and showrunner of Jane the Virgin.

—As told to Taffy Brodesser-Akner