How An Undocumented Immigrant Became A U.S. Permanent Resident And Is Using His Story To Make Change–A Conversation With Digital Strategist Juan Escalante

On the 22nd episode of Immigration Today! Angeline interviews Juan Escalante. Juan Escalante is a formerly undocumented nationally renowned digital strategist and widely recognized immigration advocate. Juan’s immigration story began when his parents fled Venezuela in the year 2000, with Juan and his two brothers, following the election of Hugo Chavez. In 2006, an immigration attorney mishandled the Escalante’s case, which led them to lose their immigration status despite “waiting in line” while paying taxes and immigration fees. By the time President Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, Juan had graduated from Florida State University with a political science degree and had helped spearhead some of the digital tactics used in immigration-related campaigns across the country. Juan returned to FSU and obtained a master’s degree in public administration in 2015. He has remained a fierce and relentless advocate for immigrant rights and leads state and national efforts to pass sensible immigration legislation. Juan resides in Los Angeles and his work has been highlighted in a wide range of publications, including The New York Times, USA Today, Univision, CNN and Netflix. 

In this podcast, Juan details his immigration story and how this affected his decision to become an advocate today. Unlike many undocumented immigrants, Juan entered the U.S. legally with a visa and had hopes of becoming a citizen at a young age. After being a victim of fraud from predatory attorneys, he and his family had to navigate the reality of being undocumented. Juan has now gained lawful permanent residency but continues to use his voice to keep DACA and fight for a more permanent solution for Dreamers and others who are undocumented.  He uses the power of the internet to tell his story and shape immigration narratives online in an effort to positively affect the view of undocumented people in this nation.