I was an undocumented immigrant
I came to this country when I was four years old, and I grew up in New Jersey as an undocumented immigrant. Despite being an undocumented immigrant, I was not afraid that the government would separate me from my parents, I was not afraid of police officers, I comfortably attended public school, and I had a very happy childhood despite severe economic hardships. In the land of opportunity, my parents and I became successful. My dad retired as a New York City yellow cab driver, my mom retired as a hairdresser, and I became a corporate lawyer. My story is the story of American grit.
The America I grew up in was very different from the America we live in today. Undocumented immigrants are now demonized in our society. Undocumented children are separated from their parents and held in cages, or “iceboxes” as the children call them because the cages are so cold. The number of undocumented pregnant women who miscarried while in detention doubled under the Trump administration because he ended the practice of releasing pregnant women. Young adults who have been living in America for most of their lives are hunted, detained, and deported to countries they barely recognize. ICE and CBP are creating an entire generation of second class residents who feel marginalized. We have to bring peace to America.
We will enact an immigration amnesty. We will provide legal status and a path to citizenship to the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America, and develop a humane border policy for those who seek asylum. We will abolish ICE and spin off the Homeland Security Investigations division, which focuses on transnational organized crime, as a separate agency under the Department of Justice.
Our country should be fundamentally open to anyone who wants to join us here. Democrats should be as liberal on this issue as Ronald Reagan, who once said “I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally,” and then signed The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (i.e., the Reagan Amnesty). As Democrats we are liberals, and we must be more liberal on this issue than even the most liberal Republicans.