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On November 12, 2019 hundreds of people from all walks of life found themselves together before the Supreme Court in Washington DC. Supporting each other, sharing stories, and giving empowering and moving speeches. On this day, people gathered together to fight for something they believed in- the rights of hundreds of thousands of immigrants that are in the United States under the program known as DACA. DACA, formally known as the Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals, is a program put in place by Barack Obama in 2014.
In Dec of 2017 under the Trump Administration, DACA was rescinded, making the future of the roughly 700,000 current DACA recipients uncertain. This decision
There is no doubt that rescinding DACA without an alternative solution would affect millions of people, not only for the roughly 700,000 individuals that are enrolled in the program, but their families as well.
However, when it came to opinions revolving DACA and other issues in the immigration community, interesting dynamics began to surface. The most important one being that this rally was not only meant for DACA, this was a protest for human rights and a demand for complete immigration reform.
The reality is that the threats faced in the immigration community are more complex than only DACA, which was frequently apparent during interviews at the DACA rally. These bigger threats involve the lives of roughly 11 million people, the amount of the current undocumented population. These people would be placed at risk if the focus was to remain on securing a solution for only DACA recipients, instead of prioritizing efforts to receive a complete solution that protected the entire undocumented immigrant community.
In this episode we dive into a crash course of the history of American immigration and the principle elements that laid the foundation for today’s immigration system. In addition we go behind the scenes and into the crowd of protesters that attended the DACA rally on Nov 12, to hear first hand their thoughts on the current uncertainty with the DACA program.
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In today’s episode I sit down with Jose Arnulfo Cabrera to share his story of being a young DREAMer in America and one of the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients currently awaiting the decision being made on the DACA program that will determine the path of their immediate future. Jose has been involved in advocacy for human rights since he was a child, and has been tremendously involved in women’s rights and immigration reform efforts organizing and leading groups to create awareness and take a stand for their rights.
José Arnulfo Cabrera was born in a small village in Mexico and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. Growing up, Cabrera remembers his mom organizing undocumented workers in Cincinnati for a just wage and safe working conditions. During this time, he learned organizing tricks and skills to keep people engaged and hopeful during disappointing moments. It wasn’t long until Cabrera started organizing for immigration reform issues, sharing his family’s story and how he would benefit from legislation like the DREAM Act. After high school, Cabrera, a DACA recipient, studied at Xavier University, while at the same time working at the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (IJPC) in Cincinnati where he started a group called Youth Educating Society (YES). Through his work at IJPC and YES he became an advocate for DACA recipients across Cincinnati, particularly at Xavier, by training and working with staff members on making Xavier a DACA friendly campus. In 2017 Cabrera attended his first ISN program, the Ignatian Justice Summit on Immigration, where Cabrera fell in love with ISN’s mission. He spoke at the Advocacy Day Public Witness during the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in 2017 and the 2018 Ignatian Justice Summit, and has contributed to ISN’s online content. After graduation, Cabrera served as a government relations associate at NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice in Washington, D.C. where he enhanced his understanding and knowledge of furthering pro-immigrant policy.
In this interview Jose shares with us what it is like living in America as an immigrant, and gives us incredible insight on the issues in the current immigration system in the United States and how immigration has become “over-politicized”. This interview exposes some very interesting points that will no doubt provide a lot of insight and understanding regarding America’s perception and handling of immigration.
Covered in this Episode:
- The general public doesn’t understand why we have a broken immigration system.
- Many myths about immigrants and our immigration system that are untrue.
- The effects the current Immigration system is having on the next generation of contributors to society- first generation Americans.
- People – throughout history – have always disliked immigrants.
- Lack of understanding of the root cause of forced migration.
- How Immigration has been over-politicized.
- Trump’s role in influencing presidential candidates use fear-mongering immigrants as good campaign tactics.
- Exposing how policies of immigration enforcement has brought fear and trauma to the immigrant communities.
- Why education on immigration policies and reform is important.
- How to get involved to reform our Immigration System.
How You Can Get Involved:
- Get Educated on Current Immigration Policies and Statistics.
- Be aware of what your elected officials are doing to try and solve our immigration system at city and state levels. Not only Federal. The policies that your city council and state legislators implement have a significant effect on undocumented immigrants.
- Advocate. Tell your elected officials what Bills and policies you support and which you do not by sending them letters, emails or visiting them at their designated offices.
- Get involved! Find a local organization that is educating and advocating to reform the current immigration system and seeking to find volunteers to help immigrants in the area.
Jose Cabrera and his Organization, Ignation Solidarity Network, are fighting to get the Dream Act of 2019 voted on so that hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients and their families can get a chance for a pathway to citizenship.
You can help! By following this Link and submitting the prepared letter to your Senator you will be standing in support of passing this Bill which could help so many deserving children and families win a chance for a better future.
TAKE ACTION NOW. The Supreme Court Begins Voting on NOVEMBER 12, 2019!
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Today in this episode of the Purposeful Series I interview Aden Batar, who was a former Somali refugee who fled with his family from Somalia during their Civil war in 1992. Over the 2 years that they hid in silence in Somalia Aden and his family experienced constant threats to their life, and sadly faced the death of his 2 year old son due to the conditions of the war-torn country and the family’s inability to access proper medical care. Aden chose a life of service once he arrived in America and has dedicated his life to the work of helping other refugees resettle and properly integrate in America through the services of the resettlement agency he works with.
In this interview Aden shares his experience of fleeing the Civil war in Somalia and seeking refuge first in Kenya and finally, the United States. He also brings to light the truth behind the current refugee crisis worldwide and the desperate state that many families are experiencing as a result of this. Having dedicated nearly 25 years of his life to working with refugees and having first-hand experience of his own, Aden reveals the realities behind who the refugees are as people, and what they are truly hoping for by seeking refuge in America.
Currently a key component of refugees recieving proper help and resources to restart their life in America is through the resettlement agencies that are located throughout the Country. These agencies are becoming more scarce as the current refugee admissions ceiling decreases every year and funding for these agencies are retracted. If this continues down the path it’s headed then families seeking shelter and safety will be left without recourse and continue to experience more hardships in addition to the ones they are fleeing from.
The different ways that we can support and assist resettlement agencies in their efforts to help refugee families in need is through the following:
- Advocate: Reaching out to your Congressional Representatives and leaders to communicate your support of resettlement agencies staying open and receiving the funding needed to help refugees.
- Donate: Contribute to the cause through financial support and donate so that staff and volunteers can continue to fund their programs and services. Follow this link here to donate to the Catholic Community Services that Aden Batar works at as an Immigration and Refugee Resettlement Director .
- Volunteer: Contribute to the cause through your time and see how you can get involved at a resettlement agency near you. There are volunteering opportunities that range from being a mentor to fostering a child who is unaccompanied by a parent and in need of a loving environment. Find a resettlement agency near you with this link and get involved!