Letter No. 30: Immigration reform now! (36101)

Dear Mr. President,

Can the Gang of Eight help you deliver the New Year’s gift so many undocumented immigrants are hoping for?

That is the question on the minds of many this holiday season, especially those Superstorm Sandy victims who are undocumented, “illegal” and scared, and do not qualify for any government assistance.

Among them are migrants like Emilio Hector Gloria Fuentes, Eberto Silva and Miguel Alarcon Morales, who lost their jobs and possessions following Sandy and now must simply scrape by, since they do not qualify for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

There is a desperate need now, more than ever, for freedom from the black hole in which these immigrants have existed for too long, and with another year coming and your promise again to make immigration reform a reality, the time is now, more than ever.

Now, it’s up to you to use your power and the political capital you have with immigrant voters and the 62 percent of Americans who told POLITICO they support immigration reform that creates a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, to let Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Michael Bennet (D-CO), John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen.-elect Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who make up the Gang of Eight, know that they need to deliver a bipartisan bill urgently for the 11-plus million people who need it.

New Jersey DREAMer Juan Pablo Orjuela of the National Coordinating Committee for United We Dream’s Mid-Atlantic region recently summed it up: “We want a roadmap to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants across the country. We, along with our mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters, deserve fair treatment and a chance to become citizens of the country we all call home.”

A comprehensive immigration reform bill must also include an end to senseless deportations and abuses, as United We Dream has said, as well as an end to excessive and costly immigration enforcement policies that separate families and divide communities; it should also ensure safe, fair working conditions and equal protection under the law for all, a guest-worker program ensuring agricultural growers a steady source of laborers, a skilled-labor program and an end to lengthy backlogs and processing times on immigration applications.

Now it’s up to you to use the grassroots and social media campaign machinery you have in place. Put it to work for immigration reform that can benefit people like Silva, Fuentes and Morales, along with 11-plus million others who continue to work and contribute as good, moral citizens to the United States of America but suffer in silence. They need to be free from the yoke of fear and the burden that they have been carrying around like albatrosses for too long. The year 2013 is the time to finally let freedom ring for the undocumented!


Felicia Persaud

The writer is founder of NewsAmericasNow, CaribPR Wire and Hard Beat Communications.