Throughout the country, politicians and civilians alike are showing their support for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. Although the struggle for immigration reform continues on Capitol Hill, many officials on the state level are doing what they can to bring undocumented immigrants out of the shadows. Leaders within the Democratic Party also continue to promote advocacy while asking their constituents to promote the idea of comprehensive immigration reform. Even if immigration reform does not happen this year, many steps are being taken to ensure a better life for immigrants seeking citizenship.
On May 24, House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California, spoke to the 2014 graduating class of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. In her speech, Pelosi said the U.S. economy is in need of a boost and immigrants can be a great source of hope for the future.
“In the United States, the middle class is the backbone of our democracy,” Pelosi said. “So let’s build ladders of opportunity for anyone willing to work hard, take responsibility, and play by the rules – to achieve the American Dream and strengthen the middle class.
While the California representative addressed the nation’s future with its future leaders, state officials across the country tried to amend the nation’s past. Joe Curtatone, the mayor of Somerville, Massachusetts, and Marty Walsh, the mayor of Boston, are working together to oppose discriminatory behavior toward undocumented immigrants. The state’s law enforcement agencies have been working with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to implement the Secure Communities program, which targets and jails undocumented immigrants. Curtatone recently signed an executive order to end the police policy to hold arrested immigrants for ICE agents. Walsh has proposed a plan for Boston to legally opt out of the Secure Communities program completely.
Sheriffs and police chiefs in Philadelphia, New Orleans and Miami are also fighting against the Secure Communities program. The law enforcement officials are refusing to hold undocumented immigrants for 48 hours, making it difficult for ICE agents to take custody of the immigrants. By working with immigrants, the local communities in Philadelphia and other cities are building a welcoming environment for current and future immigrants.