When 11-year-old Sebastien De La Cruz sang the national anthem during a San Antonio Spurs vs. Miami Heat NBA finals game in 2013, he did not expect to hear boos when he finished. But that's exactly what happened. According to the Washington Post, people at the game were upset that someone of Mexican heritage was singing the "Star Spangled Banner."
De La Cruz, who has appeared on America's Got Talent, was forced to face the realities of racism and anti-immigration attitudes at a very young age, receiving ethnic slurs and accusations that he was in the country illegally.
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But De La Cruz is not an immigrant. He was born in Texas and is a U.S. citizen.
"My father was actually in the [U.S.] Navy for a really long time," De La Cruz said after the 2013 incident. "People don't know; they just assume that I'm just Mexican. But I'm not from Mexico. I'm from San Antonio, born and raised, a true San Antonio Spurs fan."
De La Cruz performed the National Anthem at Wednesday's Democratic debate, which was quite fitting, considering immigration was a hot topic for the candidates.
Since that 2013 basketball game, many people have come forward to support De La Cruz, including Eva Longoria and President Barack Obama. Longoria even made a short film about him called "Go Sebastien Go."
The experience doesn't seem to have deflated his spirits too much. In the film, he says, "The world isn't perfect, but the world is good. Even though bad things happen, the world will always be good."
To see more on the topic of immigration check out this video: Why Mexicans Are Leaving The U.S.