Immigration Reform: the Power of Narrative



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“Every word my mother told me about this country I believed,” said Janna Hakim, a Palestinian-American college student from Brooklyn, with unwavering confidence under the vaulted ceilings of Judson Memorial Church in Manhattan on Monday. Then, Hakim continued, “she was ripped away from me and my siblings.” Her mother had been living in the United States for over 20 years before she was taken from their apartment at 6:00 a.m. during the holy month of Ramadan.

Hakim was one of many immigrants who spoke on the devastating impact of U.S. immigration policy on Monday. She was joined by immigrant activists and advocates who announced the formation of a statewide coalition called New Yorkers for Real Immigration Reform. The group includes immigrant youth and families, workers and labor organizers, civic and faith leaders and community groups. They came to make their demands for comprehensive immigration reform heard and to amplify a call for action leading up to a nationwide mobilization to be held on April 10 in Washington, D.C.

According to Jacki Esposito, Director of Immigration Advocacy of the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), “The mass mobilization will be the culmination of hard work, legislative advocacy and mobilization of immigration communities. Today is the start of a relentless campaign to pass immigration reform in 2013.” That same day, a bipartisan group of senators released their plan for a comprehensive immigration reform bill; the following day, in a major policy speech, President Obama publicly unveiled his own plan for reform.

Hakim continued to speak of the hardship her family has undergone since her mother was deported. She and sister have become the caretakers for their younger siblings, all of whom are citizens. Their mother has since been permanently barred from the United States.

2/11/2013 6:50:15 PM

What heart-wrenching stories! I wonder what the stories of these same people would be had they/their relatives chosen to come to this country LEGALLY? And what do the masses of people who HAVE chosen to come in legally and are patiently waiting their turn think of these stories?

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