In an op-ed published by Time magazine on Tuesday, the singer recounts how her aunt crossed the border from Mexico to the United States in the back of a truck in the 1970s, before other family members followed later.
“My grandparents followed, and my father was born in Texas soon after,” the 27-year-old wrote. “In 1992, I was born a US citizen thanks to their bravery and sacrifice.
“Over the past four decades, members of my family have worked hard to gain United States citizenship. Undocumented immigration is an issue I think about every day, and I never forget how blessed I am to have been born in this country thanks to my family and the grace of circumstance.”
Gomez then goes on to say that the current debate surrounding immigration in the US has her “afraid for those in similar situations” and “afraid for my country”.
The singer continued, explaining that while she does not “claim to be an expert”, immigration is a “human issue” and that the country must “listen” to those who are affected.
“Immigration goes beyond politics and headlines,” she wrote. “It is a human issue, affecting real people, dismantling real lives.
“How we deal with it speaks to our humanity, our empathy, our compassion. How we treat our fellow human beings defines who we are.”
Gomez also revealed that she was approached in 2017 about being an executive producer for a Netflix series called “Living Undocumented”, which follows eight immigrant families in the US facing possible deportation.
According to the I Can’t Get Enough singer, she watched footage from the series and cried because it captures “the shame, uncertainty and fear” that her own family faced.
“But it also captured the hope, optimism, and patriotism so many undocumented immigrants still hold in their hearts despite the hell they go through,” she wrote.
Gomez concluded the op-ed explaining that she is “concerned” by the way immigrants are being treated in the US, but that she hopes to use her platform to help.
And while Gomez anticipates facing criticism for her involvement in the show, she said the criticism is “nothing compared to what undocumented immigrants face every day”.
“Fear shouldn’t stop us from getting involved and educating ourselves on an issue that affects millions of people in our country,” she wrote. “Fear didn’t stop my aunt from getting into the back of that truck. And for that, I will always be grateful.”