Obama’s Immigration Reform Goals Resonate With Undocumented Youth

Youth Speak on Obama’s Immigration Reform Goals

In this country there exists a group of people that still live in fear and persecution – the undocumented. They live with the insecurity that comes with not knowing who you are and the role you play in this society. Often we hear people say that regardless of how the undocumented feel, they brought it down on themselves by choosing to break the law. This is true to some extent and I won’t argue against it. I will, however, ask you to imagine a common scenario which affects approximately two million youth in our country.

Imagine a child growing up here in the United States. He goes to school and he plays with his friends just like any other young person. Now imagine having to tell him that although he has lived in the U.S. as long as he can remember, he is not “American.” Now he has to deal with the fact that he doesn’t have the resources his friends have to succeed. He is frightened about what could happen to him and he is uncertain of his future. What if he gets deported? What if his parents get deported? Who will be there for him? Every year roughly 65,000 undocumented young people graduate from high school with these thoughts running through their heads. This is why we need immigration reform: To give these people hope, give them the opportunity to be unafraid in this country, and to be productive citizens.

Youth Speak on Obama's Immigration Reform Goals
Youth Speak on Obama’s Immigration Reform Goals

There are an estimated 11 million undocumented individuals in the U.S. and over the course of American history little has been done in the terms of comprehensive immigration reform, but now there is an opportunity to finally do something about that. President Obama made an announcement Tuesday, Jan. 29th of his support of an overhaul of our immigration laws in order to fix the system President Obama called “out of date and badly broken.”  He is joined by numerous legislators. “The reason I came here today is because of a challenge where the differences are dwindling, where a broad consensus is emerging and where a call for action can now be heard coming from all across America,” Obama said. Hopefully the President’s words will ring true and real progress can be achieved with bipartisan support and we will move forward and do what is best for our country.

Below is an editorial, published by over 50 ethnic media outlets, calling for immigration reform this year. It expresses the urgency of the situation and calls for necessary immigration reform.


The Time Is Now: Ethnic Media Call for Immigration Reform in 2013

Editor’s Note: This editorial was produced in association with New America Media, a national association of ethnic media, and was published by ethnic media across the country to bring attention to the urgency of immigration reform.

The White House and Congress must move quickly to enact just and humane comprehensive immigration reform.

In the wake of the 2012 elections, both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have expressed the need to act on the issue. The window for bipartisan legislation is now open.

Ethnic media have a high stake in the future of immigration policy in this country. That’s why we are joining together to take an editorial stand to urge Congress and the White House: Make 2013 the year of immigration reform.

This is not merely a question of politics. We are calling for comprehensive immigration reform because it is the morally right, economically wise and pragmatically sensible thing to do.

Our country is a nation of laws, and it is clear that U.S. immigration laws need to be overhauled. The immigration system is broken, not only for the 11 million undocumented immigrants, but for the thousands of immigrants who are unable to get visas to work in the United States; for American businesses that can’t hire the workers they need; for the families who wait for years to get visas to join their relatives in the United States.

We need comprehensive immigration reform that will reunite families, reinvigorate the economy, and revive our identity as a nation that thrives on the contributions of hard-working immigrants.

It’s clear that our federal immigration laws are not working. Federal inaction on immigration has led states from Arizona to Alabama to write their own legislation. Even the recently announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is a temporary band-aid that does nothing to solve the larger problem of a broken immigration system.

Immigration has been portrayed as a divisive issue. In reality it’s not. All of us would benefit from an effective immigration system that responds to the needs of the market, protects all workers from abuse and exploitation and puts an end to the practice of separating parents from their children.

We need an immigration system that reflects the best traditions of our history — our belief in justice, equality, and economic opportunity.

And as we look to the future, we must make sure that we remain competitive in an increasingly globalized world. We need to continue to attract the best and the brightest, to be the destination of the world’s most innovative workers.

We must act now. Our economy and our future depend on it.

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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