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Two New Ads: Steve King Insults DREAMers

Posted by on April 18, 2014.

Starting today, we're running a new ad campaign featuring two new TV ads. The first features Alejandro Morales - a DREAMer who has lived in Chicago since he was only 7 months old and wants to serve our country in the U.S. military, but can't enlist due to his undocumented status - juxtaposed with anti-immigrant Republican Congressman Steve King's vicious insults of DREAMers who would choose to serve.

The second directly calls out King's awful comment that when DREAMers stand up to volunteer to serve our country in uniform, he wants to put them on a "bus to Tijuana" and deport them.

Watch and share both ads if you want to tell Rep. Steve King to apologize for his remarks.

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DEMAND AN APOLOGY

One Year Later, Still Thankful for Our Incredible Volunteers

Posted by on April 10, 2014.

This week we are commemorating the one year anniversary of FWD.us. Looking back at what we've been able to accomplish in a year's time, we wanted to highlight the work of our volunteers and most vocal supporters of immigration reform. Without these members, our efforts would not have been possible.

Smarak volunteers his time with FWD.us in Silicon Valley. As an H-1B visa holder, he has an incredibly powerful perspective on why immigration reform matters. We recently highlighted Smarak's story in a Built By Immigrants video.

"Like every cloud has a silver lining, the friends I made in my immigration advocacy groups are the silver lining of my story," says Smarak. "I realized that there is common thread that binds us all together--the thread of hope, of perseverance, of tenacity, of hard work, and of sacrifices that binds us all together."

Hamzah was one of the first volunteers for FWD.us in Boston and Rhode Island--he even preceding current staff on the ground. He has participated in multiple events with FWD.us as well as bringing new opportunities and events to FWD.us on a monthly basis.

Hamzah continues to make connections between people working in tech and local policymakers. He uses every opportunity he can to promote the mission of FWD.us and share our mission with potential members.

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Ishita is an extraordinary volunteer, who has dedicated invaluable time, energy and effort to FWD.us in Chicago. Ishita is highly invested in the immigration reform movement due to her H-4 status that limits her from using her graduate degree in Computer Science or even obtaining a drivers license.

She single-handedly organized several direct advocacy initiatives and events in Chicago before we had organizers on the ground. Ishita is great at convening people together and has built an even broader support base of engaged volunteers.

Arunansu has been helping FWD.us in New York City from the beginning. He has always been proactive and committed, and has yet to miss an event. He even volunteered on his wife's birthday! Arunansu is central to our social media presence on Facebook. He updates our New York City Facebook group every hour with new articles about immigration reform.

In addition to Smarak, Hamzah, Ishita and Arunansu, countless other volunteers in cities across the country have stepped up to the plate and spread the word about immigration reform in new and creative ways. You can also check out previous volunteer spotlights on Barbara in North Carolina, Raunaq in New York City, and Andrea in San Francisco! We are beyond grateful to have the support of these volunteers!

VOLUNTEER WITH FWD.US

My Immigration Story

Posted by on April 02, 2014.

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When I was younger, I lived with my grandparents while my parents traveled to other Mexican states to find work. My little brother and I viewed our grandparents as our second parents. When I was six, my parents left for the United States in search of better economic opportunities, and at the age of 11, my parents decided to bring me to the United States. I wasn’t able to say goodbye to my grandparents before I left for the United States, which was hard for me. I was more scared of leaving them than going to a new country.

Unfortunately, my little brother was too young to make the dangerous border crossing, so he stayed behind in Mexico with my grandparents. I can still remember the last time I saw my brother. I thought I would see him again soon, but I haven’t seen him in nine years. The whole trip to the United States was full of memories, uncertainty, and sorrow. We drove to Mexico City and then flew to Hermosillo, where a van was waiting for us. We spent three days in a house in the middle of nowhere, too scared to leave. Finally, it was time for us to start our journey across the border. We were given two water bottles for adults and one for children, plus a few cans of tuna and corn. The light of the moon was our only ally. I do not know if it's just my imagination, but I have never seen the moon as bright as I saw it on those nights.

I remember that one warm evening when we started walking across the border. The silence of the desert warned us of the danger we faced, and we knew we had to be very careful. My parents advised me not to stray away from them. The minutes passed like hours and we didn't seem to be getting anywhere.

We quickly ran out of water and food. The only thing we found was an irrigation canal in the middle of the desert. We could hear barking dogs and the mooing of cows, as if there was a farm nearby. Everybody started to fill his or her bottles with water from that river. Our only filter was a piece of cloth that my dad ripped off from his shirt. When we were drinking it, we could feel and taste the earth. We did not care though; all we wanted was to quench our thirst.

Three days later, we finally arrived in Arizona. By the time we arrived, many of us had our feet full of sores, and many of us were also dehydrated. From Arizona, we traveled to Los Angeles by car—nine people squeezed into a car meant for four. Upon arriving to Los Angeles, we caught a flight to New York, which became my new home.

My arrival in New York City was a dream come true. It was like being in a world for giants. There were skyscrapers everywhere, but I was always afraid of what could happen next. Here, I had to learn a new language and adapt to a different culture. The saddest thing, however, was living without my grandparents and brother.

School for me was an obstacle! My parents didn’t want to send me to school because they were full of fear and lacked information about our right to a K-12 education. They thought that undocumented immigrants were not allowed in schools; it took more than a year before I finally began my studies in this country.

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While I went to school, I watched my parents work seven days a week in order to provide everything for us at home. They gave me the strength I needed to overcome any barriers, and I dedicated all my academic achievements to them. A grade of 90 in any subject or test was not enough for me, because I knew they were doing everything they could so that I could study. Because of them, I never felt like I was lacking anything.

A few years went by, and in 2011, the news that I hoped to never hear arrived: my grandfather had died. I knew that I could not go back to Mexico and say a last goodbye to the person who raised me due to my immigration status. The most painful thing was seeing my father collapse and cry. Event worse, while not yet having recovered from the loss of my grandfather, my father found out that my grandmother had cancer. On January 1, 2012, we received word that my grandmother had died.

My father was inconsolable. The only thing that he thought about was going back to Mexico and seeing his mother. He seemed to have forgotten about his dreams and goals. He seemed to forget that he wanted to have his own business in this country so that he could work without being exploited. My mother planned to be a housewife and was hoping to bring my brother to the United States. The only thing that they wanted was to have a happy and united family.

After my grandmother's death, my parents made the hardest decision of their life: they decided to return to Mexico to take care of my younger brother. Once again, my family was separated. My mother knew that I could have a better education and work opportunities in the U.S., so I decided to stay.

It has been two years since I’ve seen my mom and dad. During these years, they have missed my high school graduation and many other important moments of my life. It has been nine years since I last saw my brother. There have been many times in the last few years when I wanted to hear my mother say, "Antonio, here am I. I am your mother!" During the seven years I lived with my mom, it seems like we only had a few precious moments together because she was always working to provide for the family.

As I write this story, hundreds of people (and in many cases children) are being separated from their families. I am a DREAMer who wants to clean the dust that has accumulated on the values and rights granted by the Constitution of the United States. I am a DREAMer who seeks respect for the rights of every human being, regardless of color, religion, sexual orientation, or immigration status. I am a DREAMer who fights for the respect of my parents’ rights, those rights that were never respected when they were living here. I fight for immigration reform that would benefit my community; the 11 million undocumented immigrants who live in this country, the ones that see it as the land of freedom and opportunities, and the ones that work hard to bring economic and social benefits to the United States of America. This is the time to pass immigration reform so that families like mine can be reunited and can travel to see their loved ones whenever they want.

My fight to reunite with my family is currently being documented in "Indivisible", a film directed by Hilary Linder, and I want to invite you to watch our trailer and help us raise the resources needed to share this story, and so that I can continue sharing my story of family separation with others. My passion for immigration reform for our communities is fueled by the challenges my family and I have faced in the United States. I want to thank United We Dream and Make the Road New York for helping me fight for reform and for families. The time for justice is now!

SEE OTHER IMMIGRATION STORIES AND SHARE THEM WITH CONGRESS 

H-1B Filing Day

Posted by on April 01, 2014.

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Our nation's greatest competitive advantage has always been our ability to attract the best and the brightest from around the world, including the many immigrants who have started businesses here, growing our economy and creating American jobs.

Unfortunately, our badly broken and outdated immigration system doesn't reflect modern reality. As we inevitably run out of H-1B visa applications in the coming days due to overwhelming demand, we're reminded that our dysfunctional system tells many talented immigrants that we don't welcome their contributions, and that they might as well go start their companies and create jobs elsewhere.

That's no way to keep the United States competitive in a global economy, and it serves as another reminder that the time is now for House Republicans to act on meaningful immigration reform that does right by American families and boosts the American economy.

URGE CONGRESS TO PASS IMMIGRATION REFORM

#ThinkFWD San Francisco Panel: The Future of Talent

Posted by on March 27, 2014.

FWD.us hosted our second San Francisco #ThinkFWD membership event on Wednesday evening. The panel discussion was hosted at PARISOMA and centered on the topic of the future of the American workforce and how to address the current skilled-labor shortage.

What will the jobs of the future look like? What skills will they require? How can we modernize education to meet the needs of a modern economy? How can we ensure inclusiveness in the knowledge economy?

Panelists included Brett Queener, COO and President of Smartrecruiters, Jarvis Sulcer, Executive Director of the Level Playing Field Institute and Danoosh Kapadia from General Assemb.ly.

Our panelists were joined by Engine Advocacy Executive Director Julie Samuels, who moderated the discussion and fielded questions from the audience.

BECOME A FWD.US MEMBER

#ThinkFWD New York City Chapter Launch

Posted by on March 27, 2014.

FWD.us hosted our New York City chapter launch event at AOL Headquarters on Wednesday evening. The panel was the latest in a series of nationwide chapter events featuring experts in technology, policy and politics. Like our kickoff events in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Miami last month, yesterday's topic was "#ThinkFWD: The Future of the Middle class and the American Dream in the 21st Century,” and featured a discussion on keeping the U.S. and its citizens competitive in a global economy.

Panelists included research scientist and author Andrew McAfee, former U.S. Representative Scott Murphy, Rebuild the Dream founder Van Jones, and Andrew Rasiej, Chairman of NY Tech Meetup.

Our panelists were joined by FWD.us President and founder, Joe Green, who helped guide the conversation and welcome new FWD.us members in New York City.

BECOME A FWD.US MEMBER

#DemandAVote on Immigration Reform

Posted by on March 26, 2014.

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Earlier today, House Democrats made a critical and reasonable request of House Republicans: allow votes this year on immigration reform.

The majority of Americans know fixing our immigration system will create American jobs, grow our economy, and do right by American families. FWD.us has applauded elected officials from both parties who are taking steps to fix our broken system.

We thanked senators who supported a bipartisan reform package last summer, and thanked House Republicans for releasing principles in support of reform earlier this year.

Today, we need supporters like you to join House Democrats by demanding a vote this year on immigration reform.

Call a key representative and ask them to demand a vote on immigration reform.

House Democrats took this critical step by initiating a “discharge petition,” which is a procedure to force a vote in the House. Starting the discharge petition increases the pressure to pass reform, and highlights that there is no reason to wait.

In short, it says that it’s time for a vote on immigration reform. We couldn’t agree more.

There is bipartisan support for immigration reform, and it’s easy to see why. Reform would reduce the budget deficit by almost $200 billion in just ten years, boost economic output, increase wages for the entire labor force and make our country more productive.

But to make these potential benefits a reality, the House has to act now on immigration reform. Make sure our elected officials know that we need it -- and expect it -- to happen now.

DEMAND A VOTE ON IMMIGRATION REFORM

Attend a Screening of the New Cesar Chavez Movie!

Posted by on March 24, 2014.

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FWD.us is partnering with the United Farm Workers to host screenings of Cesar Chavez, a film highlighting the incredible story of the legendary organizer and leader who made it his life’s work to advocate for the rights of farm workers in California and across the country.

We're hosting screenings of the film in Austin, Miami, Chicago and San Francisco.

CHICAGO: Attend our Cesar Chavez screening on Friday, March 28th.

MIAMI: Attend our Cesar Chavez screening on Sunday, March 30th.

SAN FRANCISCO: Attend our Cesar Chavez screening on Sunday, March 30th. 

As members of a broad coalition working toward immigration reform, we recognize that whether it’s the founding of the next innovative tech company or the next meal on our tables, the hard work of immigrants who want to be a part of the American Dream fuels our economy and enriches our country.

The film, directed by Diego Luna and starring Michael Peña, Rosario Dawson, America Ferrera and John Malkovich chronicles Chavez’s historic efforts to organize 50,000 farm workers in California in the 1960s and 1970s.

Join us to be inspired by an American hero as we call upon Congress to do the right thing and give us a vote on immigration reform that will work for a modern economy and do right by all American families whether they live in Silicon or Central Valley.

Voters are Ready for Immigration Reform

Posted by on March 19, 2014.

With the results of the Illinois congressional primaries last night, we saw the latest sign that voters across the country are ready for immigration reform. Every Republican member of the Illinois congressional delegation with a primary challenge easily withstood his challenger, including the GOP members who have been clear in their support for meaningful reform.

We know that 3 in 4 Americans supports fixing our broken immigration system, and that a majority of voters all along the political spectrum would be more likely to vote for a representative who shares their beliefs in the need for immigration reform that works for the American economy and American families.

We remain completely committed to helping pass immigration reform this year, because we know that the time is now.

Introducing Push4Reform en Español

Posted by on March 18, 2014.

Read the Spanish-language version of this blog post.

Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of the Spanish-language version of Push4Reform, our advocacy tool that lets you see where your member of Congress stands and helps you easily take action to let them know that you strongly support reform.

We’ve been humbled by the response from thousands of supporters who have already contacted their members of Congress using the English-language version – and with the launch of Push4Reform en Español, we hope to make this advocacy tool even more accessible and useful in the fight for reform.

The Push4Reform app came out of our DREAMer Hackathon in Silicon Valley late last year. At that event, 20 inspiring, talented DREAMers coded and designed products to advocate for immigration reform. It was inspiring to see what the DREAMers accomplished; Push4Reform won “Best Advocacy” at the Hackathon, and it’s easy to see why once you try it. The team, comprised of DREAMers Luis Aguilar, Kent Tam, and Justino Mora, created the idea and the design, and members of our talented volunteer Code Squad helped build it out.

Push4Reform makes it easy for you to make a direct impact in the campaign for immigration reform, and keeps you updated on what’s happening in the movement.

You simply enter your zip code, and Push4Reform clearly explains where your representatives stand on immigration reform. We then make it easy to communicate with them through phone, Facebook, Twitter or even a physical letter. You can thank them if they publicly support reform, or encourage them to speak out if they have not yet taken a position.

This is the perfect time to learn more about your representatives. We have to keep up the pressure on House Republicans to take action on immigration reform in 2014, and the more voices calling for reform together, the stronger our advocacy.

Once you use Push4Reform – in English or in Spanish – we’ll make sure to keep you posted on the most important updates for your representative, and the overall campaign for reform. If a key representative changes his or her stance, you’ll be the first to know.

Give Push4Reform en Español a try, and then be sure to let your friends, family, and colleagues know the newest way that they can contact their members of Congress to encourage them to support reform.

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Hoy estamos emocionados de anunciar el lanzamiento de Push4Reform en Español, que es una nueva herramienta de activismo que le permite ver cuál es la postura de su representante respecto a la reforma migratoria y que le ayuda a fácilmente tomar acción para decirles que usted apoya la reforma.

Hemos sido humillados por la respuesta de miles que ya han contactado a sus miembros del Congreso mediante la versión de Push4Reform en Inglés - y con el lanzamiento de Push4Reform en Español, esperemos que esta herramienta aún sea más accesible y útil en la lucha para la reforma migratoria.

La aplicación de Push4Reform fue desarrollada durante el Hackathon de DREAMers en Silicon Valley a los finales del año pasado. Durante el evento, 20 soñadores talentosos y inspiradores diseñaron y crearon productos para luchar por una reforma migratoria. Fue muy emocionante ver lo que los DREAMers lograron; Push4Reform ganó "Mejor Herramienta de Activismo " en la hackathon , y es fácil ver por qué cuando lo pruebes. El equipo, compuesto por Soñadores Luis Aguilar , Kent Tam, y Justino Mora, creó la idea y el diseño, y los miembros de nuestro talentoso equipo voluntario, el “Code Squad”, ayudaron a construir el producto.

Push4Reform hace mas fácil que usted pueda hacer un impacto directo en la campaña para pasar la reforma migratoria, y también te informa de lo que está sucediendo en el movimiento.

Sólo tiene que poner su código postal y Push4Reform le dice cuál es la postura de su representante respecto a la reforma migratoria. La herramienta también le ayuda a comunicarse fácilmente con ellos a través del teléfono, Facebook , Twitter o incluso con una carta física. Puede darles las gracias si públicamente apoyan la reforma , o también puede animarlos a clarificar sus posturas si aún no han tomado una posición.

Este es el momento perfecto para aprender más acerca de sus representantes. Tenemos que seguir presionando a los republicanos de la Cámara de Representantes para tomar acción sobre la reforma migratoria este año, y si más voces les piden una reforma, más fuerte será nuestra voz y movimiento.

Cuando utilice Push4Reform - en Inglés o en Español – nos aseguraremos de mantener contacto con usted y informarle de nuevas actualizaciones importantes de su representante y también sobre la campaña global para la reforma migratoria. Si un representante cambia su postura, usted será el primero en saberlo.

Trate Push4Reform en Español, y luego dígale a sus amigos , familiares y colegas de esta nueva herramienta y forma de contactar a sus representantes en el Congreso para animarlos a apoyar la reforma migratoria.

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