Photo: Jim Young / Reuters
Editor’s Note: This editorial was produced in association with New America Media (http://www.newamericamedia.org), a national association of ethnic media, and was published by ethnic media across the country to bring attention to the urgency of immigration reform. Here at WE’CED, we wanted to add our youth voice to this issue. Following the editorial, please keep reading to find the opinions of several of our local young people on the subject. You may be surprised to find that youth also see this as a very relevant issue to our times and their lives.
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.
Mia, 16: As of right now I currently believe that as a country, the U.S. does not need immigration reform. I have seen the opposing sides of how it could possibly be a good thing but also I still feel very unaware of how this could benefit us, America. I do know of the struggles in Mexico with finding jobs but as an American citizen who currently has family looking for jobs, we struggle as well. Just as America is trying to change the economy for a better working environment, I think that Mexico should try and do the same by creating more jobs in their country. Hopefully in the future things can make a turn around and immigration for Mexicans can become easier for them to come to the States and be with family, but as for now I think that reform is something we should think about.
Diego, 18: I think that we need immigration reform for those who have been working here in the United States for years now. This reform means a lot to all immigrants in the U.S. since it could be an avenue for a better education and for better jobs. I think the kind of reform that we need should be at least a work permit. Immigrants do have families and when they are deported most of, if not all the time, families are being torn apart not only physically or mentally but financially too.
DeShawn, 17: I think we need Immigration reform in the U.S. because immigrants have helped us out since day one hundreds of years ago, if it wasn’t for them I don’t know where we would be. I just think the government should pay immigrants more for their hard work.