How can we be voceros? We need to reframe the public discussion on immigration. There are other ways that we can be welcoming communities - Think of Germany that has welcomed and integrated one million refugees this past year. Governments have the power to determine how people will be received. Germany created 100,000 new jobs for immigrants in 2016 - they see the new immigrants contributing to the growth of their economy!
Where is our imagination? This past Sunday during the women's march (Tucson) one of the chants was "Refugees and Immigrants are Welcome here!" That is being a vocero! At the Saturday rally outside City Hall in Tucson we were demanding that Tucson become a Sanctuary City offering safe haven to all its residents.
Be persistent! Look at the courage of the Dreamers who came out of the shadows and said that we have the right to be here in the United States - our parents brought us when we were little. Never underestimate the power and resilience of immigrant communities. US Senators Jeff Flake and Lindsay Graham have introduced the Bridge Act which would provide an extended reprieve from deportation to Dreamers.
Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are promoting the so-called Bridge Act, which would allow at least 740,000 young immigrants who have gotten deportation reprieves and work permits under Obama to keep those benefits for three more years if they are revoked. (Source: Politico, 12/16/2016)
- The courage of the Dreamers and their allies are changing the discussion on immigration.
- People of faith and good will are organizing to provide protection networks in case of increased ICE raids on families.
- Get involved - let your elected representatives know that you support refugees and immigrants.
- Volunteer at a local organizations that works with refugees and immigrants.
- Talk to your friends and family about the issue. There are 80 million households in the USA that are immigrants and their immediate descendants. Source: Dr. Westy Egmont, Boston College.
- You and I and all of us can be voceros and provide alternatives to our current broken immigration system.