by Dennis Chin, guest blogger
Have you heard of Selvin Arevalo’s story?
Selvin came to Portland, Maine as a 14-year old. He was detained right after finishing high school after a minor car accident. Over the last 10 years, Selvin worked as a house painter to support his family back in Guatemala. Community members describe him as having exhibited tremendous personal growth and being an overall outstanding member of the community.
Quotes from the Portland Press Herald:
“Selvin is like any one of us. He came to this country looking to better himself,” said his close friend Isai “Jessy” Galvez. “He supports his two brothers, a sister and his mother, who had open-heart surgery.
“He has shown that he is a benefit to our society. It would be a tragedy to send him back now,” said Galvez, 20, who attends college in Portland.”
If the President and Congress fail to act on immigration reform this year, many young, undocumented folks like Selvin will graduate with no future outlook, condemned to a life in the shadows. Some will even be deported to countries that they haven’t lived in for years.
There’s something to be said about the economic and social capital we’d be losing from deporting folks like Selvin. Case study after case study shows that immigrants expand economic opportunity for all Americans in the long haul. And personal stories from friends of Selvin demonstrate the gains we experience as a community from immigrants.