In light of Donald Trump's administration's efforts to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, actor Bambadjan Bamba, who has a recurring role on The Good Place and will appear in 2018's Black Panther as a military leader, has revealed that he himself is undocumented, and a DACA recipient. In an interview with the LA Times, Bamba revealed that he and his family left the African country of Cote D'Ivoire when he was ten years old. They moved to America, but they were never granted asylum, which he only discovered when it was time to apply for college.
"There's always this shadow of fear like, 'Oh my God. If I come out [as undocumented], what can happen? I may never work in Hollywood again. I could be sent back home and there's a war!'" he told the LA Times. "There's always this fear, this balance."
However, he decided now was the time to come forward in hopes of ending the stigma against undocumented immigrants, and to push for change so he no longer lives in fear.
"There's a lot of fear around the issue because they criminalize you. You're just here to go to school," he explained. "Your parents can't pay for the school. Next thing you know, you're undocumented, and you're a criminal, and you're sent to jail. It's just this spiral."
While they're treated like criminals, undocumented immigrants have the same hopes and goals as you and I.
"We're not here to take away your jobs. We're here to give back," he continues. "We're not just Mexicans or Latino. We're black, too. We're from the Middle East, from Asia, too. We're your neighbors, your doctors, the teachers of your children, and sometimes we're on TV in your home, characters that you love. We're just one of you."
"We need more concrete action. Call your representatives," Bamba added. "America really has to stand for immigrants now."