Gareth Kelly, a small business owner in San Luis Obispo, is more than meets the eye. His journey began with a J-1 visa, and later an H1-B visa, which allowed him to work in the United States after traveling from England. When the business he was working for suddenly closed shop during the Recession, Kelly was shocked that he was not legally able to transfer his visa to another business he owned and operated.
He continued living in America, under the threat of deportation, to further the success of his business, for the sake of his livelihood and his employees.
In 2015, Kelly took a risk and came out as undocumented, sharing his story with a national TV audience on the HLN network, and locally through local media and the local chamber of commerce. He was greeted with a mix of reactions, but most importantly he raised awareness for the plight of all undocumented people, especially those who don’t have the privileges he enjoys as a white, financially independent man.