A very short post for this holiday. As you’re spending time with the kids of your family and friends this weekend, see if they’ll write and send a letter to President Obama expressing their reasons for stopping his mad deportation project. The We Belong Together campaign, organized by the National Domestic Workers Alliance and the National Asian Pacific American Women Forum, is conducting its second annual Wish for the Holidays effort. The campaign is sending letters to Congress, but there’s no doubt that the message will reach the president, who needs as big a push as anyone else. The deadline is Nov. 30. You can watch the sweet, motivating video for the campaign here, and get instructions for sending, as well as ideas for things to do with the kids to learn more about the situation.
The campaign collected thousands of letters last year, and already has 8,000 pledges this year. Organizers want 10,000 letters altogether. The president appears now to be alarmed that his legacy on immigration might end up being “the most deportingest president in history,” and he does not like that. He can drop the label by moving immigration reform, and he can also drop it by, well, just not deporting people. Let’s get the kids to tell him what he already knows. Apparently, he needs the push. These letters, like every other time POTUS hears from us on immigration, do and will make a difference. So help our kids take on a piece of really important civic duty this weekend and send their letters in.
At the end of September, I went on a Women’s Learning Tour to Tijuana with We Belong Together. I met a woman named Esther who had been deported after being stopped at a “papers please” traffic checkpoint, leaving her 14-year-old daughter Eliza behind. Eliza is now 19 and working with kids in Southern California to collect these letters. Esther and the other women we met confirmed that the nation’s current policy isn’t focused on violent felons, but rather on moms and dads who have been in U.S. a long time, sometimes decades, and who have gone back and forth to take care of family and to work.
About half of those deported are parents. As I write this post, Seth Freed Wessler is in North Carolina, awaiting the outcome in the family court hearing of Felipe Montes, who was deported in 2010 and threatened with the permanent loss of his kids. ICE allowed Montes to return with a humanitarian parole for the hearing. Child Protective Services has reversed its earlier position to say that “reunification” is now the plan, but the final word is the judge’s, and we hope that is a positive word that comes in time for Thanksgiving. It’s not always going to be like this, and you can help make sure that Obama’s second term starts out right.
This post has been updated since publication.