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Our peers in the shadows

| Monday, March 23, 2015

We know that Comprehensive Immigration Reform and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) is a hot topic, but do we even know what it is or what it would do? The reality is there are many among us whose lives depend on us. They are hidden behind the shadows of this debate.

In 2013, the Senate passed a bipartisan Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill in hopes to build a stronger future for our country within our economy and community. The bill was then sent to the House, where it was not successful. The House speaker and leaders even refused to vote on the bill. This triggered President Obama to create an immigration executive action. This action would provide citizenship and relief from deportation for families who have been in the United States for more than five years. It requires them to undergo a background check and pay taxes.

This caught Congress’ attention; they replied with a vote to repeal the President’s executive action.

Why does this affect you? It may not yet, but there are students who are passionate about the immigration reform because it protects DACA status.

Those with DACA status are individuals who have lived in the United States continuously since January 2010. If they meet certain qualifications, they may apply for temporary deferment for two or three years. This means individuals have temporary legal status in the United States, a Social Security number and relief from deportation.

DACA status helps qualified individuals receive education and economic opportunities. You might not realize, but many young adults have DACA status throughout our college communities (Holy Cross College, Saint Mary’s College and University of Notre Dame).

How can we help protect immigration reform or DACA status? We see U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski as a key asset to continue this conversation throughout the House. She voted to repeal Obama’s executive action, but there were 26 other U.S. Republican representatives who did not vote to repeal the president’s actions due to protecting those with DACA status. Our goal is to encourage Congresswoman Walorski to communicate with these other representatives to understand better why they voted against the repeal as the conversation continues.

Although she agrees the immigration system is a “step-by-step” process, there has not been consistent progress overall.

We must take a stand to help fix the broken immigration system. In the past, the U.S. government has put large amounts of money into the border, but it has not made a huge impact. The system still needs to be fixed. This can happen if we change our focus from hardening the borders to helping those people who are already here.

It seems that the House, Senate and the president cannot come to an agreement on how to repair our broken immigration system. We can only assume they are not hearing the people’s voice.

As young voters, we must fight to keep the conversation of immigration reform going by educating and engaging those throughout our community. We must ask Congresswoman Walorski to shine light on this issue and brighten the lives of our undocumented peers.


Joelle Poettgen


Holy Cross College

March 19

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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  • wigglwagon

    “We must take a stand to help fix the broken immigration system.”

    Is an immigration system that legally admits over a million new citizens every year really broken? How many would an ‘unbroken’ immigration system admit every year?

    • JimmyBiden

      The current system takes in more legal immigrants that every other industrialized nation combined. The system is not broken. Laws have been allowed to be ignored. We need to enforce the law and close our de facto open borders or the entire world will send their children here believing that America will care for them, educate them and give them a better future.
      People who have made the decision to enter and stay in the U.S. illegally must be deported. That is the law. The system is not broken. The law is being ignored.

  • DonHonda

    NOTE & WARNING: The links provided below contain direct quotes from Obama and his officials.

    The Left-Leaning LA Times posted an article that shows that the Obama administration, the Illegal Alien lobby, and the major media outlets have been in collusion to depict the “high” deportation numbers. The exact opposite is true since the beginning of the current President’s policy. Interior deportation has and will be lower than 1973 rates. This is leading towards more people overstaying their visas and currently, more Illegal Alien minors crossing the border. Obama has just recently instructed border patrol to not turn back those Illegal Aliens on record as having entered illegally as priors, but to let them pass IF they don’t have a major criminal record. After the first Illegal Entry, it is a felony each time thereafter.

    Even Obama in 2011, called the deportation numbers deceptive when talking to Hispanic voters. President Obama said statistics that show his administration is on track to deport more illegal immigrants than the Bush administration are misleading.

    “The statistics are a little deceptive,” he said Wednesday in an online discussion aimed at Hispanic voters.”

    “If you are a run-of-the-mill immigrant here illegally, your odds of getting deported are close to zero — it’s just highly unlikely to happen,” John Sandweg, until recently the acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement





  • DonHonda
  • DonHonda
  • Maddie I

    This is a great article drawing attention to the current political battle on immigration reform that could potentially affect our friends and classmates. As Notre Dame/Holy Cross/St. Mary’s students and members of a Catholic community, we should do our utmost to help protect undocumented immigrants, especially DACA students. Thanks for shedding light on an issue critical to our community, Joelle!

  • Juan De Dios Constantino

    This is a country that is built upon immigrants. For us to punish children that were brought here against there will at a young age, who recognize this country as their home, and are only seeking to pursue a good future is a crime. How can we deny a basic right of education and pursuit of happiness to those who are most vulnerable. Their inability to make that choice as kids is not their fault, and I strongly believe in Immgration Reform and the DACA program. Joelle, thank you for shedding some light on this ever so crucial topic.

    • Edwin Hernandez

      Hey can I have your email address?

  • Sara Spitt

    Considering this issue affects my classmates – DACA students who had no choice in the matter of their entrance into the US – I think it is so important to attempt to continue the conversation with Sen. Walorski. This can be done by signing a petition that urges Sen. Walorski to respond to certain aspects of immigration reform supported by the Catholic church https://www.change.org/p/jackie-walorski-call-to-action-on-immigration-reform

    • JimmyBiden

      You would probably feel different Sara if you were paying property taxes to educate your “classmates” and you knew their parents were not pulling their fair share while your kids had to lose art and music classes so the school could hire Spanish-speaking teachers.

      It would be different if you were in the real world paying income taxes and getting less and less in return for your contribution while the government and college kids seem to think the well is endless and all we have to do is open our arms.
      When parents illegally bring or just send their kids here, who pays for them?
      It’s all good and altruistic as long as somebody else has to foot the bill.
      Why not have everyone who signs your petition pledge to work 5 or 10 hours per week and all income goes to support immigrants in the U.S. or on campus illegally. See how long that lasts.

      Put your money where your mouth is. Put your labor where you say your heart is and then we can talk.
      There’s nothing easier than being generous with someone else’s hard earned money. Heck, I ain’t mad at you. I used to be a silly college student myself. Then I graduated and grew up. There’s nothing wrong with enforcing the law until the legal process of democracy decides to change the law. That’ why we have the process.

      • Maddie I

        Mr. “JimmyBiden”, most research points out that if we provided easier pathways to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants currently residing in the US, the economy would actually improve. The taxes paid by the immigrants would outweigh the cost of social programs. On the other hand, the United States is daily accruing the costs of maintaining large border patrols, building even more fencing around the border, or deporting hard working members of our communities. Below is just one article describing how undocumented immigrants actually positively impact our economy, and there is much more evidence online if you take the time to research the topic.