This feature is back! As immigration reform looms on the political horizon, PEP is getting a head start on raising up why and how an immigration reform needs to happen now! We hope our visions and experiences will inspire you to raise your voice too.
“I refuse to stand for the xenophobia of our immigration policies and enforcement which leave families torn apart, without health care, work, housing and protection by the law! To continue to treat people who have immigrated as the ICE does, while also continuing to economically exploit other countries so that people must leave in order to sustain themselves is racist, exploitative and needs to stop!”- Mia
“Immigration Reform must allow for all individuals to have access to a fair and humane immigration system. And that means it should not only be comprehensive but should be accessible for low income folks, and non-English speaking individuals.” - Nina
“We need a series of town hall meetings in areas most affected by immigration. These meetings should give people the ability to speak their minds freely without having to declare their status or personal information. This would provide our current administration with valuable insight into the issues actually affecting immigrants living in our country.” – Lindsay
“I no longer want to see many families being torn apart by systematic racism that singles out any person who looks "foreign." ICE raids that target ethnic groups seeking legal immigration status are atrocious and intolerable. Along with the need for a humane and just immigration reform, I also want to see officials and the administration address the countless labor violations many working immigrants face when they look for employment. It is all too common for employers to exploit undocumented workers because of their immigration status and workers are verbally and physically abused, are not allocated money for weeks long work, and if they are paid, they are paid way below the minimum wage. Undocumented workers do not report these violations because of fear of deportation and intimidation imparted by employers, therefore making them an even more vulnerable population. I encourage real immigration reform along with accountability that is necessary from the Obama administration to enforce existing labor laws that have been overlooked for years.” –Myra
“For a long time, I believed that immigration reform did not affect me, until I saw a commercial a few years back that focused on how immigration has affected African American employment. I realized how unjust it is to pit African Americans against another group of people who are just trying to accomplish what many African Americans are trying to accomplish: to financially support their families as much as they can.” – Nicole
“We need to give judges the ability to consider family ties in deportation hearings (like they used to be able to) in order to end the current practice of tearing apart families of mixed immigration status (parents without papers, children who are US citizens). We need to create paths to citizenship for the parents of children who are US citizens in order to keep families together.” – Nora
“I know it has been said a lot lately, but health care is a human right. So whether it's through health care legislation and/or a quick path to citizenship, immigrants need to have access to health care. I have a friend who has recently become employed by border patrol. He needs that job to help raise his young family and he is excited by the opportunity. But he is Dominican and therefore torn between the opportunities he is receiving and the boot camp-style training he is receiving, mainly to help deny opportunities to others.” – Willo
“My relationship and feelings toward this land are complex. I love this country and identify with it, but most of my ancestors were brought here forcibly and enslaved. Their blood, sweat, tears, and toil made this country not only possible, but also prosperous. Some of my ancestors were forced from their land on this continent and nearly wiped out. We need to remember that our country was founded upon the seizure of land from and genocide of indigenous peoples. This land was their land. Now it's supposedly your land and my land--made for you and me--from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters? When we take this history into account, how many people truly have a birthright to this place that we call America? How do people who came here in search of freedom from religious persecution by the Anglican church and their descendants, or those who fled Ireland because of the potato famine and their descendants have any more right to this land than people who are currently flocking here due to harms caused by U.S. economic and/or military intervention in their country of origin? People need to stop clinging for dear life to their ill-conceived sense of nativism and realize that everyone who is here contributes to this country in one way or another. Our government needs to recognize and validate all of this in upcoming immigration reform and all future politics, policy, and practice--in addition to making amends for our long-standing and continued violence against indigenous peoples on this continent, black Americans, and people around the world.” – Courtney
“As a Puerto Rican, I never felt particularly connected to the issue of immigration because we are US citizens. Over time, however, I have realized that my family left Puerto Rico for the same reasons that other immigrants leave their homes – for better opportunities for themselves and their families, for a chance at a better life. I want immigration reform to recognize the humanity of ALL immigrants and to make it easier for immigrants to lead healthy lives in their “adopted” home.” – Aimee
“Growing up in a city of immigrants, I was privileged to experience a huge range of cultural values and traditions. In the upcoming immigration reform, we need to start from a place of justice-based values. These values need to include a respect for and celebration of all of the traditions that our ancestors have given us. We need to get rid of the assimilation-based and so-called tolerance-based principles that our current policies stand on. We need to value all human-life, especially those that are shaped by poverty and colonialism (conditions that we – the United States – continue to impose on other nations).” – Lani
We hope our thoughts and opinions have encouraged you to raise your voice on the upcoming immigration reform! What better time than now to raise your voice? Click here to send your thoughts/comments to President Obama and his staff expressing why immigration reform is important to you!