Bambadjan Bamba, an actor who has appeared in The Good Place, Grey’s Anatomy, Suicide Squad, Black Panther, and The Sopranos, has publicly revealed that he is an undocumented immigrant currently protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program:
“I’m going public first and foremost because I’m sick and tired of living in fear and hiding about this issue,” he said. “I’ve kind of been in this status for 25 years of my life. I remember when the administration decided to cancel DACA ― that was the last straw for me because not only am I married, but I have a daughter now. I didn’t feel like I could still sit back and keep hitting the snooze button.”
Bamba was just 10 years old when, fleeing persecution, he came to the U.S. with his parents from the West African country of Ivory Coast. He grew up in the south Bronx, developing his English-speaking skills by listening to hip-hop artists like Snoop Dogg and Mase.
Like many other DACA recipients before him, Bamba had no clue about his immigration status until he started applying for colleges and realized he was ineligible for financial aid (he eventually put himself through the Conservatory of Film and Dramatic Arts by driving cabs and with help from his family).
Since DACA’s implementation in 2012, Bamba has been able to work steadily, but Donald Trump’s decision to end the program again threw his life into turmoil. As he wondered if he would have to go back into the shadows, he credited his faith, daughter, and other DACA youth with convincing him to come out as undocumented and take a stand.
”All these kids that have so much less than I do, they’re standing up,” he said. “They’re sleeping in front of the White House or in front of their congressman’s office. I’m sitting here being scared. But we’re done with fear. We’re here to stay. Let’s push. Let’s fight, because nothing is going to be given for free.”
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