A project of the Center for Community Change


Cortos y Fuertes

My name is Marlene Montañez and I am a dreamer from California.

I am currently working with the L.A. Federation of Labor on an youth film competition about immigration titled Cortos y Fuertes/ Short and Strong.

Cortos y Fuertes / Short and Strong is a film competition meant to create a space for youth to tell their immigrant stories.

 This short student film competition is meant for students of all ages. We want youth to be creative and resourceful, using whatever means accessible to create their stories (even cell phones). The youth of this country is one of the strongest we have; it’s time to let that voice be heard.

 We will have three age categories: 13 and below, 14 to 17, and 18 and over (so long as the individual is a student in high school, community college, undergraduate graduate degree program or graduate degree program). There will be a 1st and 2nd place prize for each category, as well as a Most Viewed and Best Overall prize.

 This is not only a chance for participants to win cash prizes, but it is excellent opportunities to have their voices reach a distinguished panel of judges. These judges include Rosario Dawson, Dolores Huerta, Antonio Villaraigosa, Esai Morales, Danny Trejo and many more….

 Cortos y Fuertes film contest is a joint project of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO and UNITE HERE.

 Submissions are done online at www.shortandstrong.com and are due September 20, 2013.

 Please spread the word!

 For more information visit and like us on Facebook:



Our Poster:  https://fairimmigration.org//wp-content/uploads/2013/06/cortosyfuertesposter1.pdf

DACA’s One-year Anniversary

131A 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.

Romney Adviser Is Leading the Charge to Defeat Deferred Action

Kris Kobach is Lead Attorney in Lawsuit Against Obama Administration

(WASHINGTON)—Kris Kobach, an informal adviser to GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, is at it again, this time leading the charge to defeat the Obama administration’s policy on Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, acting as the lead attorney in a lawsuit filed against the administration.

Kobach was a primary drafter of Arizona’s racist SB 1070, a bill that Romney has said should serve “as a model for the rest of the nation.” Kobach filed a federal lawsuit last week in Dallas on behalf of 10 immigration agents, in an attempt to undermine the historic step the Obama Administration announced in June to provide temporary relief to qualifying young people.

“Kris Kobach’s efforts to defeat Deferred Action, a policy that would allow DREAM students to work and live in the United States for up to two years without fear of deportation, is reprehensible,” said Irma Rivera, spokesperson for the Fair Immigration Reform Movement (FIRM). “His role as an informal adviser to Mitt Romney speaks volumes about Romney’s lack of commitment to Latinos in this country.”

“Deferred Action is the continuation of our fight to help all undocumented immigrants who have come to this country to achieve better lives for themselves and their families,” Rivera said. “Kobach’s efforts to defeat Deferred Action is nothing more than smokescreen to stop comprehensive immigration reform and continue to tear families apart.”

FIRM is a network of community-based immigrant advocacy organizations in 30 states.

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012
Contact: Donna De La Cruz, ddelacruz@communitychange.org (202) 339-9331

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