The Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC) joyfully celebrated immigrant contributions in Michigan. during the National Welcoming Week from September 12th to 20th, 2015.
MIRC is a resource center for advocates seeking equal justice for Michigan´s immigrants that aims to make Michigan a place where migrant communities can be fully integrated and respected.
On the other hand, through an organization called Reform Immigration for America we learn that Rosario Reyes, a wife and mother of two from El Salvador — a Dreamer Mom — had to resort to fasting for days in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., in order to put pressure on the White House to take executive action to protect families from deportation.
Undocumented mothers have continued to push the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to rule in the lawsuit against DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) and Expanded DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) on behalf of five million immigrants who await a decision so they can — finally legally — continue to live, work, and study in the United States.
According to the National Immigration Law Center, “DACA is a program for youth who came to the US as children, and under a directive from the secretary of DHS [Department of Homeland Security], these parents and youth may be granted a type of temporary permission to stay in the U.S. called ‘deferred action’. These programs are expected to help up to 4.4 million people [in the US], according to Department of Homeland Security.”
In the words of the National Immigration Law Center “The immigration system in the United States is in desperate need of reform in order to meet the nation’s societal, cultural, and economic needs…”, and the topic has been at the top of the President’s agenda for most of his second term — but nothing happens.
The United States is a nation formed almost exclusively by immigrants who have gradually arrived into in this country since the Colonial Period. There has always been temporary friction between established immigrants and the newcomers as shown by the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act and before that, by the Anti-Catholic American Party that considered the recently arrived Catholic Irish immigrants unwelcome competition for employment in the 1850s.
For a while, during the global depression in the 1930s immigration, but later after WWII the numbers began to increase once again (including soldiers who had married abroad and were now bringing their new foreign brides back to America).
Today, the source of immigration has shifted from Europe to Latin America. Between 1990 and 2010 more than 7.5 million Mexican immigrants came to the United States. Mexicans originally migrated to the United States as guest agricultural workers before WWII, hired by private contractors under the Bracero Program. In the last few years, immigration from Mexico virtually came to a halt, while many of these immigrants even returned home to Mexico. This created a serious problem of a lack of available workers for farms and factories, as no one else would take the vacant jobs. According to online publication Voice of America “US Farmers Depend on Illegal Immigrants”, and according to Steve Baragona of VOA, “when the United Farm Workers union launched a campaign offering to connect unemployed people to farm jobs, only three people accepted — out of thousands of inquiries”.
Immigration reform is in urgent need of modernization, and in 2013, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators proposed a comprehensive immigration reform with a path to legalization sustained by four main pillars: A roadmap to citizenship, A streamlined process to allow highly skilled immigrants and immigrant family members to come to or remain in the U.S.; Mandated use of an electronic employment eligibility verification system; and A process to allow future workers to enter the country, as well as to protect workers’ rights.
In the meantime, immigrant families continue to wait — or to fast, like Rosario — hoping for a miracle that will stop deportations, and the separation of parents and children, Perhaps true reform will once and for all solve the inexplicable disarray of immigration laws in a nation formed mostly by immigrants.
Immigration reform needs to be a priority to our country.