by Carlos Vargas | January 29, 2013

Washington, DC – Today President Obama gave the speech we were all waiting for in the immigrant rights movement. The President spoke about immigration reform and his own plan to deal with the broken system we currently have. He described what many of us have already seen in the past years, outlining a plan that starts with securing the border and implementing a strong employment verification system. The President then highlighted the need to deal with the undocumented population in the United States, followed by a call for a fix to the current visa system.

We thank the President for showing his urgency for this issue so early in the year, and for speaking about another DREAMer who, like many of us, needs a path to citizenship. We also agree with him on the fact that “immigration is not about policy, but about people.” However, we are hopeful that the President, as well as Congress, can make family unity their top priority. Taking even a brief review of the record number of deportations under the Obama Administration or the stories of our own community quickly reveals we don’t completely agree on the fact that the President has focused on “the people.”

Just recently, a co-founder of DRM Capitol Group, Erika Andiola, was raided by federal immigration agent at her home. They arrested her mom and older brother, and nearly deported them: it was only thousands of calls and petitions that stopped their deportation. They are the people Obama speaks about: the immigrant who came to this country like every non-Native American, and who deserve an opportunity.

This year, like in the past, undocumented youth and our families will keep mobilizing our community, telling our stories and pressuring Congress and the President to do what is right: stop separating families immediately, and work towards a fair path to citizenship.