With anticipation, I awaited President Obama’s inauguration speech. As I have listened over the years to many presidents speak, I waited for a call to action. Most years, we were lucky to hear a couple of words that referred in passing to the need to “secure the borders” (at the cost of 18 billion dollars in 2012) or the “rule of law” (after laws were passed in Congress to make it difficult if not impossible to keep families together and for employers to hire skilled workers).
We’ve all known of the needs of the vast number of people who have been living in the US for many years. The cause of immigration reform has been taken up by individuals, families, attorneys, churches, social groups, businesses for profit and non-profit, politicians – the list goes on and on. Everyone (well almost everyone) agrees that the system is broken. Immigration laws do not meet the needs of the United States in an increasingly interconnected world. The flame of the lady has drawn generations of immigrants seeking a better future to our shores, through the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This idea has helped our young nation to be exceptional among a world of states. The idea of equality inspires and is embodied by the flame. As citizens of America, it is our duty to ensure that we do not allow the flame to be extinguished.
President Obama made a call to action last Monday: “our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as the land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather that expelled from our country.”
Each year at the American Immigration Lawyers Association National Day of Action, we have carried forth under the flame seeking comprehensive immigration reform. Well this year, the banner for this journey is being taken up by President Obama. Join the AILA National day of Action on April 11, 2013 in Washington DC. We need to reach out to our friends, the undecided and our opponents to join us in this journey. Each election has its own way of creating a new reality. The last Presidential election demonstrated that you cannot win without the Hispanic and immigrant votes. This will help us in our journey and motivate new travelers to join us.
I am an immigration lawyer married to my wife Iris from Honduras; together we have two young US citizen boys Max and Alex. My father was from Colombia and my mother from Belgium. Each year, I have believed that this is the year for immigration reform. Let’s make 2013 the year that President Obama’s call for a journey takes us back to the ideas which founded this nation. America is and always has been a land of immigrants.
Written by Mario Ramos, AILA Media-Advocacy Committee