01/29/2014

'Opportunity' means reforming our broken immigration system, providing path to citizenship for immigrants

There was a line in President Obama’s State of the Union address that particularly resonated with me: “Opportunity is who we are.”

I think everyone would agree. The question is whether we’ll provide that opportunity to the millions of immigrants who are living and working in the shadows in our country.

Will we put an end to the ugly bigotry, exploitation and discrimination faced by a  vulnerable population of people who are working hard in search of the American Dream?

They’re people like our client Joel Licea, whose dreams of being the first in his family to attend college were dashed when he was charged triple the normal cost of tuition in South Carolina because his parents were undocumented. We helped Joel and students like him in other states across the South.

They’re people like our client Cirila Baltazar Cruz, whose newborn daughter was stolen from her in a Mississippi hospital because she couldn’t speak English to defend herself against false charges. She was reunited with her baby because of our legal action.

They’re people like the thousands of “guest workers” who’ve been systematically cheated out of their hard-earned wages by unscrupulous employers. We’ve won millions in back pay for them.

We join the president in urging Congress to act swiftly, to provide a path to citizenship for the millions of immigrants who are working in our fields and factories to put food on tables. And, with your support, we’ll continue to seek justice for the most marginalized in our society.

As the president said, “Opportunity is who we are.”