She and her family came to the U.S. from the Philippines a decade ago without proper papers. Today she stepped to the microphone at an immigration rally to review publicly for the first time that she was undocumented, reports the Los Angeles Times,
She says her parents feel a sense of shame over their immigration status.
“It breaks my heart,” Panaligan said. “They would apologize to me every day for the experiences I go through, being undocumented, when I should be thanking them for having the courage to leave everything behind for that American dream.”
More undocumented immigrants like Panaligan are now coming forward under the protection of President Obama’s Dream Act.
Kevin Lee has a similar story to tell except his family is from South Korea. You can read his story and get an overview of the more than 1 million undocumented immigrants of Asian and Pacific American Islander descent in the Los Angeles Times.