Letter No. 63: Immigration reform now!
Felicia Persaud | 1/30/2014, 12:38 p.m.
Dear Mr. President,
Talented entrepreneurs like Luis Aguilar, Justino Mora and Kent Tam are among millions of reasons why you and U.S. lawmakers must make immigration reform a reality now.
All three are Dreamers who, because of their immigration status in this country, have been unable to truly excel, despite their undeniable talent. The three recently created the Push4Reform app, which gathers information about members of Congress and their stance on immigration.
Launched by FWD.us, the advocacy group led by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and entrepreneur Joe Green, the app allows anyone who downloads it to simply enter their ZIP code and, voilà, they can learn whether their representatives and senators support particular immigration reforms and what their reps have said publicly about the topic and find the best ways to connect with them.
These are the talented men and women that the U.S. needs to keep, not deport. Aguilar migrated from Mexico when he was 9, taught himself to code but was forced to drop out of college due to the out-of-state tuition costs. Mora came to the United States when he was 11 and studies computer science and political science at UCLA. Tam also studied at UCLA and struggles to find a job due to his immigration status.
Imagine how much more innovative America as a society and economy will be if talents like Aguilar, Mora and Tam are just given a chance to be legal residents in this country and contribute in a legal meaningful way instead of having their true potential stymied by bureaucracy, ignorance and blatant racism.
With Congress back in session, it is time to get back to the business of making immigration reform a top priority. We are still awaiting the so-called “Republican principles” on reform from Speaker John Boehner, but if we can believe Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy and Rep. Bob Goodlatte, then those principles will likely include legalizing the 11 million or so undocumented immigrants like Aguilar, Mora and Tam.
States are definitely making moves of their own. A National Conference of State Legislatures report, released Tuesday, shows a 64 percent increase in state-level immigration legislation. In all, 2013 saw a total of 437 laws and resolutions passed on immigration, compared to 267 in 2012.
Now it’s time for Boehner to get this passed on the federal level where it matters, even if it’s a half-a-loaf deal that excludes a pathway to citizenship to keep his base quiet and shut the pie holes of those quick to scream, “Amnesty.”
To use “Shark Tank” lingo, we need a deal now, half-baked or not. The lives of 11 million-plus people are in limbo, and you know you can’t possibly deport all of them, even though your administration has certainly tried.
With over a month already into the new year, we need immigration reform, and we need it now. Time to keep dialing up, not down, on your rhetoric on unilateral executive action if Congress won’t act!
Respectfully, Felicia Persaud The writer is CMO of Hard Beat Communications, which owns the brands News Americas Now, CaribPR Wire and Invest Caribbean Now.