Carta abierta a Barack Obama

“La comunidad latina no le perdona, presidente, el incremento en las deportaciones durante los últimos cuatro años….

Usted nos debe una solución permanente y definitiva para la situación de nuestros Dreamers. Usted nos debe una negociación con el Congreso utilizando todo lo que esté al alcance de su mano para solucionar la situación migratoria de once millones de trabajadores en este país.

Este 6 de noviembre decidimos darle una segunda oportunidad, presidente. Al igual que mi comunidad, confío en que usted sigue siendo el Barack Obama que encendió mi esperanza. Que en algún momento de lo que resta de su gobierno, me hará sentir orgullosa de mi decisión. Que los próximos cuatro años de su mandato estarán a la altura del tesoro que hoy hemos puesto en sus manos.”

Estimado presidente Barack Obama,

Escribo este texto a unos minutos de haberse anunciado su triunfo en las elecciones de este 6 de noviembre y su permanencia en la presidencia de Estados Unidos. Celebro su victoria. Yo, como el 71% de los electores latinos de este país, voté por usted. Y como la mayoría de ellos, también voté por usted hace cuatro años, en 2008.

Ese año, como reportera, tuve la oportunidad de presenciar una parte de su campaña, primero al interior de su partido para ganar la candidatura y después como candidato para llegar a la presidencia. De esas semanas de eventos en distintas ciudades del país, guardo una escena en particular; la recuerdo porque ese fue el momento en el que decidí que iba a votar por usted. Fue a principios de ese año, durante un mitin en el auditorio de una universidad en Santa Fe, Nuevo México. El…

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Deporter in Chief Responds

When I sent my letter to President Obama back in June I was not expecting a response.  I know that many letters addressed to politicians get thrown in the recycling bin.  I mean, how many do they receive on a daily basis and how many staffers would  you need to actually peruse through them and respond accordingly?

To my surprise, a few months later (2 days prior to my birthday), I received a response electronically from the White House.  As I begin to read it, I start to recognize the talking points I have been hearing throughout the campaign trail.

I found myself reading the canned message that address minimally the initial concerns you write about in the first place. Well, I guess it is not much different from the messages we hear from the candidates on debates when asked pressing questions on issues that matter to all of us.

Although, the following section in the letter caught my attention:

In the absence of any action on immigration from Congress, my Administration will continue to focus our enforcement resources on high-priority individuals, including those who present national security or public safety concerns and those who have recently entered our country

Are they even realizing that they are sending this response to someone that they deported?  And are they telling me that sending three officers to look for me for two consecutive days was an effort that reduced the risk of a threat to the US? Ridiculous!

I do not believe the U.S. is much safer by kicking out people who can be productive members of society but I believe the President is oblivious to this as his response demonstrates.

For those that are curious about the response I received, I am including a copy in this post.

August 17, 2012

Dear Nancy:

Thank you for writing. I have heard from many Americans concerned about immigration, and I appreciate your perspective.

Americans are rightly frustrated with our Nation’s broken immigration system, and I share that frustration. We need an immigration system that meets America’s 21st-century economic and security needs. We can achieve such a system only by putting aside politics and coming together to develop a comprehensive solution that continues to secure our borders, holds businesses responsible for who they hire, strengthens our economic competitiveness, and requires undocumented immigrants to get right with the law. That is how we can reaffirm our heritage as a Nation of immigrants and a Nation of laws.

My Administration has invested an unprecedented amount of resources, technology, and manpower to secure our borders, and our efforts are producing real results. Today, our Southern border is more secure than ever, with more law enforcement personnel than at any time in American history—and there are fewer illegal crossings now than at any time in the past 40 years. Crime rates along the border are down, and we have seized more illegal guns, cash, and drugs than in years past. In addition to doing what is necessary to secure our borders, my Administration is implementing a smart, effective immigration enforcement policy which includes taking action against employers who knowingly exploit people and break the law, as well as against criminal immigrants who pose a threat to the safety of American communities.

Stopping illegal immigration also depends upon reforming our outdated system of legal immigration. My Administration is working to strengthen and streamline the legal immigration system through administrative reforms, making it easier for employers, immigrants, and families to navigate the system. For example, we have reduced barriers to citizenship by keeping application fees constant and providing and creating tools to help applicants through the naturalization process. Through the innovative “Entrepreneurs in Residence” initiative, we are streamlining existing pathways for foreign-born entrepreneurs to come and create businesses and jobs in our country. Finally, we are working to support families by addressing a serious barrier in the law which requires Americans to risk years of separation from their loved ones, particularly spouses and children, in order to process a family visa petition. By proposing a waiver before these families separate, we are advancing legal immigration and the reunification of families—both fundamental principles under the law.

I remain deeply committed to working in a bipartisan way to enact immigration reform that restores accountability and responsibility to our broken immigration system. The Federal Government has the responsibility to continue to secure our borders. Those immigrants who are here illegally have a responsibility to pay taxes, pay a fine, learn English, and undergo background checks before they can get on a path to earn legal status. At the same time, we need to provide businesses a legal way to hire the workers they rely on, and a path for those workers to earn legal status.

The law should also stop punishing young people who were brought to this country as children by giving them a chance to stay and earn a legal status if they pursue higher education or serve in our military. In the absence of any action on immigration from Congress, my Administration will continue to focus our enforcement resources on high-priority individuals, including those who present national security or public safety concerns and those who have recently entered our country. As another step in this process, on June 15, 2012, the Department of Homeland Security announced it will allow eligible young people who do not present a risk to our national security or public safety to request temporary relief from deportation proceedings and apply for work authorization. This is not a path to citizenship, and it is not a permanent fix—only Congress can provide that. This is only a temporary measure to allow us to focus our resources wisely while giving a degree of relief and hope to talented, driven, and patriotic young people.

By creating a 21st century immigration system that is true to our principles, our Nation will remain a land of opportunity, prosperity, and freedom for all. To learn more about my Administration’s efforts regarding immigration, or to read our Blueprint for Immigration Reform, please visit www.WhiteHouse.gov/Issues/Immigration. For additional information and resources on current immigration and enforcement efforts, I encourage you to visit www.DHS.gov or call 1-800-375-5283.

Thank you, again, for writing.
Sincerely,
Barack Obama

Dear Mr. President

Below is an electronic copy of letter I submitted to the White House upon hearing of the announcement on Deferred Action Policy.  Little did I know that this simple action would lead to a series of events that later inspired me to start this blog (I will talk about them in future entries).

June 17, 2012

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20500

RE:  Order to End Deportation of Young Undocumented Immigrants

Dear Mr. President:

I was moved to know that after 26 years of inertia, there is now in place a policy that will allow young undocumented immigrants to integrate themselves into the fabric of American society.  At the same time, it was hard for me to accept that this reform came almost three years too late for my brother and I, whom would have otherwise qualified.  Instead, we were deported at age 27 and 29, respectively.

Starting at the age of nine, I was part of a class of people that lived in the shadows afraid to be exposed due to our legal status.  Despite of these challenges, I excelled academically and graduated in the top three percent of my high school class. I went on to earn my B.S. degree.  I was an active participant in my community offering countless volunteer hours to further social causes.

Four years ago I thought your candidacy offered the hope we needed to change the direction of the country including its current immigration laws.  Although I could not vote for you, I volunteered on your campaign believing that reform could be possible.  The reality is that under your administration, deportation of non-criminal undocumented immigrants has increased and has contributed to more family separations than during the eight years of the George W. Bush presidency.  The failure to take action earlier has irreversibly impacted the lives of hundreds of immigrants that are thrown out of the U.S. on a daily basis.  I and my family are among that number.

I was forced out of a country I called home without the opportunity to collect my financial documents or a change of clothes that would have allowed me to sustain myself that first week in Tijuana. Yet I continue to live with limited professional prospects in my native country due to current U.S. policies.

I write to you now, to request three changes that would make a difference for people like me:

1. Increasing accountability of the Customs Enforcement Agency and their deportation procedures

2. Removing 10-year ban for deportees so they can successfully appeal their cases

3. Reforming the visa process so deportees who are working in their country of origin and are required to travel to the U.S. for business purposes are not ineligible for a visitor’s visa

What I really hope for is true immigration reform that provides the 12 million undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship.  In the meantime, implementing the above changes will make the current legal process more humane.

Most Respectfully,

Nancy Landa