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art by Favianna Rodriguez

Art by Favianna Rodriguez

“ Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” – Paulo Freire, Educator

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JUNE 23, 2013 / BY JESUS IÑIGUEZ Why Do We Need A Pathway To Citizenship?
Comprehensive Immigration Reform is on the forefront of all politics nowadays, and while conversations around the legislation are taking place behind closed doors between senators, and amendments and deals are being voted on, community members are rallying to press for a humane and just approach to this looming immigration legislation.

We decided to reach out to different members and ask them to tell us why they believe Immigration Reform is so important for our communities.

In collaboration with S.I.R.E.N. (Services Immigrants Rights & Education Network), we found volunteers who were very open and willing to share their stories and thoughts. Below is one of their narratives:

"My name is Alma Angeles and I was born in Mexico City. In 2007, my parents decided to come to the United States. It was a really hard decision for everyone because we left our family and friends, but we wanted to look forward to a better future.

When we arrived here in the U.S. we did not have anything. I remember that we had to sleep on the floor because we did not have money to buy a bed. It was difficult to adapt to a new country and a new culture. I was on the transition from childhood to teenage years, so for me it was even harder to adapt. The first months I felt very frustrated because I could not speak English; I could not communicate with others.

Times started to get better after a while, but we still have some difficulties with money. We are currently living in a garage because we do not have enough money to rent an apartment, eat, and the same time pay for my college tuition. I went to a Latino high school where I felt more connected with my culture and where I learned to appreciate it more. I graduated as the salutatorian of the Class of 2012, and for me that was a great achievement after coming to the US without knowing any English.

I am studying Political Science in San Jose State University and I am looking forward to achieve my dream of working as an Ambassador. In order to achieve my dream, I would need a job permit to get more involved in Politics, but due to my immigrant status it will be a little harder for me. Now, I have the Deferred Action, which allows me to work legally, but after two years I do not know if I will still have that opportunity.

With immigration reform I would be able to achieve not only my dreams, but I would be able to see my family accomplish the goal they had in mind when they came to the United States. Immigration reform is important because immigrants play a big role in this country. Immigrants contribute to the economy; if immigrants achieve legal status, more jobs could be created and the economy will increase. I think immigrants deserve the same opportunities as the citizens because they make a lot of sacrifices not only to have a better future, but to also give something back to the country which opened the doors to new opportunities. Immigration reform will be beneficial for everyone. I urge the government to approve an immigration reform that would let everyone achieve the dreams they are destined for.