Undocumented UNC Student Body President Candidate Garners National Attention

Feb 24, 2014

Emilio Vicente
Credit emiliosbp.com / Emilio Vicente


Emilio Vicente says he ran for student body president at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill because he wanted to give a voice to the voiceless at his school. But as gay, undocumented Latino student, Emilio gained national attention. He recently lost the race to fellow student Andrew Powell.

Even so, Emilio Vicente says he has no regrets about entering the race or being honest about his legal status in the country:

"A lot of us live in fear, like what's going to happen to us if immigration enforcement comes and takes our families away. And by saying that you're publicly undocumented, you put a face to the issue. People who would have never realized or thought of you as undocumented, their perception changes as well. And then you realize the community that you have behind you, supporting you. And I truly believe it is an empowering tool when you say you're undocumented and unafraid. It makes you more empowered, and that's something to be proud of."

Though Emilio Vicente was not elected student body president, he remains invested in lifting up the voices of underrepresented people at the University. 

Here is a story we wrote about Vicente in January.