Today, President Barack Obama unveiled his plan for immigration reform in a major speech in Las Vegas, stating a commitment to creation of a roadmap to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and pledging to make immigration reform a top priority for 2013.
United We Dream, the largest immigrant youth-led network in the U.S., is speaking out to welcome President Obama’s new leadership and pledging to continue pressing the president to stop deporting our families now. DREAMers will also pressure congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle to support reform with a direct path to citizenship and an end to deportations that tear families apart.
Immigrant youth demonstrated their political power by winning the deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) policy from the White House last June. The victory was a turning point in the immigration debate, and DREAMers will push political leaders from both parties to deliver immigration reform legislation that brings permanent protections and citizenship for our entire community.
President Obama spoke out strongly in support of immigration reform with a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants. The president’s speech echoed the call from both the American people and a bipartisan group of senators to pass immigration reform with citizenship at the center. Just last week, DREAMers across the country organized rallies, vigils, and events in an out cry for leadership from the president on immigration. It looks like he heard us loud and clear.
We will keep fighting to make sure LGBT families are afforded the same protections as every other family and that the path to citizenship for all undocumented Americans is fair, direct, and straightforward.
We know that this fight will not be easy and that it’ll require holding leaders of both parties accountable for delivering immigration reform legislation. We can’t let politicians create a schizophrenic plan that hands over more resources to out-of-control immigration agents and privatized detention centers—already overflowing with tax dollars—to harass and deport our families, while at the same time creating a roadmap to citizenship for these same people.
As long as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and her agents are still undermining the president’s vision every day, DREAMers will keep fighting. Just this month, Napolitano defended agents who raided the home of our friend Erika Andiola and detained her mom and brother. The president can begin to make good on his commitment to our community by finally ending the deportation of future citizens.
President Obama and Congress must not only say the right things on immigration but must also set politics aside and work together to craft legislation that puts us and our families and communities on a road to citizenship, in a fair and straightforward manner. Our movement has proved that we have the power to win, and we won’t let up until we do.