As GOP Hopefuls Square Off in Second Primary Debate, We Remind You of the Parable of Pete Wilson

Posted on 09/15/2015

“Our objective is only to establish a reasonable, fair, orderly, and secure system of immigration into this country and not to discriminate in any way against particular nations or people.”  – President Ronald Reagan, (Statement on Signing the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986)

California has seen a large fallout over the politics of mass deportation
We present the Parable of Pete Wilson – a stark reminder of the dangerous politics of mass deportation. Among the political fallout after California passed the anti-immigrant Prop 187 in 1994:

  • With Latinos – the fastest growing demographic in the state – aggressively alienated by this tactics, they massively turned away from Republican party.
  • The congressional delegation went from 2 more Democrats in Congress in 1995 to 23 more Democrats than Republicans in 2013.
  • President Reagan’s home state, which previously elected Republicans in six straight presidential elections has been a lock for Democrats for two decades.
  • In 2012, Barack Obama won California’s 55 electoral votes by a 23 point margin.
  • Nationally, the current number of Latino voters is expected to double by 2030.

The State of the Race & Immigration Debate

Ronald Reagan himself understood the importance of immigration reform and the unique value add that immigrants give to our country: “They brought with them courage, ambition and the values of family, neighborhood, work, peace and freedom. They came from different lands but they shared the same values, the same dream.” – Ronald Reagan, (Labor Day Speech at Liberty State Park, Jersey City, New Jersey)

Unfortunately since the last debate many GOP candidates have doubled down on mass deportation as a policy. This is unfeasible and unacceptable. Here’s what’s been said since the last debate:

Donald Trump recently said that his plan for mass deportation – and this means rounding up and removing talking 11-12 million undocumented immigrants plus the millions of US citizens he wants to send with them when he revokes the 14th amendment – would “take 18 months to 2 years if properly handled.

Without providing specifics for how he would accomplish this – his recent comments have also sparked some of the most egregious policy suggestions from his fellow GOP contenders – who also offer little in terms of specifics.

Gov. Scott Walker compares Trump’s immigration proposal as similar to his own: “I haven’t looked at all the details of his but the things I’ve heard are very similar to the things I’ve mentioned,” the Wisconsin governor said on Fox & Friends.

This means rounding up and deporting roughly 25,000 to 30,000 people every single day – or deporting a population the size of Madison, Wisconsin every 10 days.

Governors Jeb Bush and John Kasich, as well as Senators Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, and Lindsey Graham, have all publicly acknowledged the reality that we are not going to round up and deport 11 million people, and, therefore, that the federal government should ultimately implement a path toward legalization. We applaud those who stand up to Trump’s mass deportation plan and urge them to speak out against it.

But for those who have engaged in the politics of mass deportation – there is no backing down. These individuals need to be held accountable for their words and explain exactly what they mean, and how they plan to do it. “Good management” is not an acceptable answer. This debate, we want all participants to clearly define their position on mass deportation, and for those in favor of deportation to answer – How as President would they round up and deport the more than 11 million people living within our borders? Where would they send them? And what are the economic and humanitarian costs associated with this plan?

Those who wish to represent the American people as President should be willing to provide voters with a straightforward and honest answer to these questions tomorrow night.

Hello, FWD.us Dallas Chapter!

Posted on 09/11/2015

Which Texas city is home to the most tech workers and hosts over a dozen Fortune 500 companies?

(Here’s a hint: It’s also home to our newest FWD.us chapter…)

The answer is, of course, Dallas. We’re thrilled to give our Texas presence a boost with the addition of a FWD.us Dallas chapter. The city boasts a diverse community that cares deeply about immigration reform. Passionate supporters and critically-thinking techies will be crucial in communicating the importance of immigration reform to local legislators.

This week, dozens attended our launch event held at coworking space The Grove. New chapter members mingled over hors d’oeuvres, followed by an introduction and political update by our Texas Chapter Director Nick Baker, volunteer leaders, and Chapter Founders Daniel and Cassie Stewart.

Thank you to all who attended and to our gracious hosts at The Grove! Check out pictures of the event below.

Don’t live in Dallas? We got you. Find your closest FWD.us chapter here.

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Resistance Through Education: Undocumented Students Start the School Year

Posted by Justin Nguyen Phuoc on 09/10/2015

JustinBlog_CoverMy name is Justin Nguyen Phuoc, and I am an undocumented immigrant.

Disregard what T.S. Eliot said about April. For an undocumented student, September is the cruelest month. It is that time of the year when students across the nation rush to their dorms, bid goodbye to their families, buy books, and crunch courses. Meanwhile, undocumented students are struggling between jobs and providing for their families – and dealing with the uncertainty of being able to attend college.

This is exactly what I have endured over the course of the college process, and over the past three years.

At the age of fifteen, I was forced to move from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to the United States in the cold winter of 2012. Vietnam’s evictions, engendered by poverty and corruption, left my parents with no choice but to abandon everything they had so that I could have a shot at “the American Dream.” I watched as they struggled to hang on to the little we had. I remember when, one afternoon, my dad told me “we’re moving.” I assumed that he meant to another house because of all the eviction notes we were getting in the mail, but he actually meant we were moving to the United States. As a naive teenager, I pretended this was a game, like the one with the frog crossing the road, except this was “Justin’s family crossing the Pacific Ocean.” Since my parents did not speak a word of English, I had to handle the entirety of the paperwork, from booking the interview to signing papers for the consulate, all in the name of pursuing an education and a better life.

Once I arrived to the United States, I immediately took a serving position at a local Pho restaurant in Pawtucket, RI. I worked this job while juggling AP classes, moving between motels and guest homes, and helping my parents pay rent and tuition for the private high school I was attending. For a year, my family crammed into a small one-bedroom apartment. I even rotated sleeping on the floor and on an air-mattress before we moved to Boston for better opportunities.

In Boston, I committed myself to academia, thinking that if I worked twice as hard as others I would be able to go to college, regardless of my undocumented status. By the end of my senior year, I had maxed out the number of schools I was allowed to apply to using the Common Application online (it is 20 schools in case you were wondering). I also applied to at least 15 different scholarships; won first place at the 2015 Boston city-wide Science Fair; became a finalist for the Intel International and Regional Science Fair; played on my school’s volleyball team and competed in the state championship in wrestling; was able to network with political figures through the Student Immigrant Movement as a regional organizer. I did more than I could possibly imagine; and yet, I was still denied from scholarships and universities simply due to my undocumented status.

I was on the brink of forfeiting, but against all odds, the Boston Scholar Athletes recognized my potential and awarded me a full two years tuition to attend the Roxbury Community College.

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I am both thrilled to and terrified of going back to school this fall. I am excited simply because I have been given a shot to pursue my dream. It is not every day that an undocumented student receives full tuition to attend college; therefore, I feel an enormous pressure to succeed. On the other hand, I fear that I won’t be able to juggle providing for my family, completing my education, and advocating for my own rights. Living as an undocumented student comes with a bag full of uncertainty. I have an increasingly irrational fear of losing all that I have worked for in the blink of an eye.

With the odds and the broken U.S. immigration system clearly stacked against me, I see why nationally only 10 percent of undocumented high school graduates go on to college. This means that of the estimated 65,000 undocumented students that graduate every year, only 6,500 move on to higher education. An even smaller percentage of undocumented students actually graduates from college. There are students out there who are just as smart, determined and willing as myself, and yet they do not get to go to college due to their immigration status.

These circumstances are why I continue to fight for my dream and the dreams of hundreds of thousands of other hardworking undocumented students living in America.
Here in Massachusetts, the Student Immigrant Movement has launched a campaign call “Dare to Dream MA” to pass a legislation that would allow undocumented student to have access to in-state tuition with financial aid. We have fought tirelessly for this bill for what seems like an eternity. But for the first time in a long while, we finally have a shot of getting this bill out of the Joint Committee of Higher Education and onto the voting floor with backing from both parties. Even with these endless efforts and determination, we still encounter opposing forces that would love nothing more but to tear us down and destroy our progress.

Just imagine the possible revenue that undocumented immigrants could generate if they had higher paying jobs due to skills obtained through higher education. Undocumented immigrants are already paying taxes, and yet they are denied from reaping their benefits. In 2010, undocumented immigrants contributed $150 million in taxes to Massachusetts alone. Increased access to higher education will only make this contribution larger.

My future, and the futures of other undocumented immigrant students, should not be left up to chance. Education is a human right and there should be systemic avenues for everyone to access it.

Your undocumented neighbor,

Justin Nguyen Phuoc
Boston Regional Organizer, Student Immigrant Movement

A Step Forward: Modernization of the Visa Bulletin

Posted by Todd Schulte on 09/09/2015

We applaud the administration’s decision to modernize the Visa Bulletin for hardworking immigrants who will now be able to contribute more fully to our communities and our economy. This is a good step toward improving the system for those who are stuck in an outdated and broken green card process by increasing worker mobility and allowing family members to work in the United States. We’re thankful to all of FWD.us’ volunteers and our allies for pushing hard for these changes, but this is a reminder that our legal immigration system remains broken and we need Congress to act.

We encourage anyone who thinks they may be eligible for this new program to visit the FAQ section of the USCIS website for more information.