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After he saw American Apparel’s ad featuring a white college student posing with a very tanned “California farmer,” artist Julio Salgado could barely contain his feelings. While he thought the ad was “so unrealistic,” it also became the inspiration for his latest collection, “Undocumented Apparel.”

Within hours of seeing the ad, Salgado, a graphic artist and activist, began posting his “Undocumented Apparel” designs on Facebook and Tumblr, and many began to share the images, which make biting comments about the state of undocumented immigrants.

One ad quips, “You backpacked across Europe and they called you adventurous. I crossed a border to save my daughter’s life and they call me a criminal.” While another exposes a harsh reality: “I’m just a little immigrant. You go on living your hopeful-politician lives. God bless Amerikkka.”

Salgado knows how it feels to live life on the edge. He and his family came to the U.S. legally in 1995. But after his little sister’s kidney condition worsened, they were faced with a tough choice: stay in the U.S. illegally while she got better, or return and risk her conditioning deteriorating because of the trip. They stayed and have been undocumented ever since.

Lost in all the talk about immigration reform, self-deportation (as Mitt Romney suggests), and some state’s tough discriminatory laws are the stories of those affected by living life on the margins.

While Salgado insists that undocumented people have a voice but are just not using it, he is determined to help those who are too afraid to speak up and have their perspectives heard.

See more of Salgado’s “Undocumented Apparel” series on his I Exist blog, and read more about his story at Colorlines.

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  • The Comment

    What’s with this undocumented stuff?????? Illegal is illegal not undocumented. All this pc crap is bs. No voice? you got free health care, sanctuary cities, welfare, food stamps, financial aid, scholarships, free health care that self employed people don’t have access too. Vaccinations for your kids, day care for your kids, free birth control, dental, housing, grocery stores that are Spanish/Mexican only. You have your own banks, your own schools and your over 250 satallite stations broadcasting Spanish speaking programming from Brazil to Paraguay. In all their glory. What did I miss?

    • @ The Comment

      Undocumented immigrant, illegal immigrant, same difference.

      Dang, it seems that illegals are having a fiesta party with all that you wrote. hmmm….which state is this oo?1

    • The Comment

      Kalifornia…knows how to fiesta alright…..fiesta on my dime.

    • loool! I knew which state you were going to mention. But to be quite honest, illegals do not fiesta the way those in Cali do! TRUST!

    • apple

      You know who else was an illegal immigrant? Christopher Columbus now go sit down

    • @ Apple,

      Alrighty then, you my dear have set the tone. Let the games begin, or should I say EDUCATION…..

      *waves @ apple*

  • The Comment

    Oh yeah…..and Press 1 for Spanish….

  • Shirl

    @ comment…good one!! “press 1 for Spanish”.

  • The Comment

    @Apple…..LMAO…..

    Ok dear. Tell me this. A family member of yours is self-employed (the American dream right) but can not get health ins cause it is too expensive meanwhile…Jose and dem have all the access the law will allow cause they are ‘undocumented’. Free dental for them. Free daycare. How do you feel? Cause I wanna know how you feel girlfriend. Holla @ yo girl!

    You walk into Target and 1/2 the people there don’t speak English.

    You have to beg for an English speaking customer service rep

    Hit and runs are rampent cause no one got insurance….

    I’ll wait.

    • Ingrid

      And you’ll be waiting for a LONG time sister. Instead of spouting nonsensical illogical garbage, please, give me a damn reputable REFERENCE that shows how undocumented immigrants get free healthcare and dental. Show me valid statistics that show how undocumented immigrants, or “Jose and dem” as you put it, are a detriment to the American economy. I challenge you to find this information.

      Don’t be upset over who Target hires, go write them a letter complaining about their employees. Or, don’t shop there.

      I have never had to beg for an English speaking customer rep. Although, there are many customer reps from ASIA who are hired by American companies who outsourced their workforce. So, sometimes I have to speak to someone who has an accent. Wow, my life must surely be shit if I’m bothered by having to speak to someone who has accent.

      Again, please provide statistics that show that hit and runs are rampant because no one has car insurance. And also make sure that these statistics also show that only undocumented people drive without insurance and commit hit and runs, because we all know that EVERYONE who has papers and a car, HAS insurance. We all know that residents and citizens never break the law.

      I’ll wait for your response. Holla at yo girl.