As House Republicans debate whether or not they will act on immigration reform, they should remember the deadline of Aug. 2nd that the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM) has set for the House to pass a bill containing a pathway to citizenship.
Until then, and if House GOP members decide to ignore the deadline, FIRM will continue to support actions such as driving calls to Congress, sending emails and petitions, holding rallies, town hall meetings, the works. We will remind any lawmaker who votes against immigration reform that our political power will be unleashed against them come election time.
So I hope House Republicans use their summer wisely and act in a bipartisan manner, like the Senate did, to craft an immigration reform bill that contains a pathway to citizenship and keeps families together. And act quickly to make the Aug. 2nd deadline. If not, we will make sure they hear our voices during their summer recess period.
A year ago, President Obama announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for young people who were brought to the U.S. when they were children by their immigrant parents. The program is a reprieve from deportation and a chance for DREAMers to get a work permit, which has helped transform many lives. As an immigrant, I may not understand their fear of being taken away, but I do understand the fear of losing everything you have been building.
I think the essence of coming to America is giving people infinite opportunities to make impossibilities become possible.
When I was in my native China, I was spoiled and highly dependent on my parents. I was an average student who couldn’t dig into my deeper soul and know what I wanted because I had everything prepared by my parents. I didn’t know how to cook, never worked, never paid a bill. I didn’t know people were struggling with discrimination issues. I could never imagine that families were being torn apart. My only concern in life was studying hard, getting good grades, attending a top university and graduating.
After my family came to the U.S., I began to realize what I was capable of. I could hold two part-time jobs while I worked to earn my G.E.D. I could pay the bills for my entire family all on my own. I could work as a Registered Nursing Assistant even though biology was never my strong suit. I could gain acceptance into U.C. Berkeley, one of the best universities in the world, and then be selected to attend their U.C. Washington Center program. I could be hired to work on immigration reform at the Center for Community Change, first as an intern and now as a fellow.
I’m so grateful for all that I’ve been able to accomplish. I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I hadn’t come to the U.S. And I’m now fighting for DREAMers who have the same enthusiasm and hope for the future as I do. We should all be granted equal status so that we can make our lives better and contribute to the country we love.
This year has been a huge one for DREAMers who earlier this year were granted deferred action status. But the fight for DREAMers is not over. Although they now have the ability to stay in the U.S. without fear, their parents and other family members do not live with same sense of security. Keeping families together is why immigration reform leaders are meeting in D.C.
Immigrant families have contributed to our economy and are an integral piece in the framework of our American society. A coalition of grassroots organizations and The Campaign for Community Change are organizing to launch the, Keeping Families Together campaign tour. The tour will stop in New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., among others. Family stories will be told at campaign rallies, vigils, community dinners, and will be recorded and shared with policymakers.
Our families want citizenship, which is a real solution that upholds our nation’s values, and moves us forward together. Our current immigration system is badly broken. What people don’t understand is that there is literally no way for some undocumented immigrants to become legal, including people who were here as young children. And unscrupulous employers can prey on workers and pay low wages. A path to citizenship will give immigrants an opportunity to become legal, pay taxes, and participate fully in American society.
So DREAMers and their families will continue to work toward comprehensive immigration reform, and the Keeping Families Together summit will help us achieve it.
Tagged america's voice, barack obama, Comprehensive Immigration Reform, deportation, DREAM Act, family unity, FIRM, Immigrant Rights, immigration, immigration policy, immigration reform, keeping families together, latino vote, latino voters, obama and immigration, president obama, the center for community change, Washington DC