Immigrant Children Deliver Postcards to the Governor's Office; Call for Just and Humane Immigration Policies
BOSTON/Beacon Hill - Seeking "more just and humane immigration polices," over a dozen children of new immigrant families joined with 30 representatives of immigrant and faith-based community organizations on Tuesday under the banner of the pro-immigrant coalition Welcoming Massachusetts to present specially-prepared giant postcards asking for support for their cause from Gov. Deval Patrick (D - Massachusetts) and President-Elect Barack Obama (D).
The advocates held a press conference in State House Hearing Room B-1 featuring a few short presentations. Representatives from the offices of Sen. Anthony Gallucio (D - Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex), Rep. John Rogers (D - Twelfth Norfolk), and Rep. Timothy Toomey (D - Twenty-Sixth Middlesex) were in attendance.
Damaris Lopez of Agencia Alpha opened up the event, "Today we're here to remember how Massachusetts played a leading role in establishing a moral and legal framework that gave birth to a new nation, the United States of America.
"But the failure of the U.S. Congress and the White House to enact responsible, sensible, and humane immigration reform," Lopez continued, " has given way to a problematic policy of harsh enforcement measures that has created a vacuum at the state and local level - impacting not only the immigrant community, but the country as a whole. Especially the new generation, the children of immigrants who were born in this country and are citizens of this nation and that have the right pursue that liberty, to pursue their human rights ... we're here just to let them know that they have the right to speak up, the right to point to what's wrong, the right to fight for what's good, and the right to point to that system that is so broken and obsolete that it's actually keeping them separated from their families."
Two of the young immigrants, Tony Martinez of Centro Presente and Clivia Camara of the Welcome Project, then read the postcards to Gov. Patrick and President-Elect Obama aloud.
The text of the card to Gov. Patrick was as follows:
Dear Governor Patrick,
In this holiday season, we are filled with hope and joy at the prospect of becoming a more just and welcoming state. We are counting on you to recognize the urgent needs of Massachusetts immigrants and to speak out against the harsh enforcement policies that separate families and traumatize children.
May you and your family enjoy a peaceful and fulfilling New Year.
After the cards were read, Peter Lowber of the Arlington Street Church announced that a more detailed letter to President-Elect Obama signed by dozens of community groups and religious denominations would be included with the materials to be given to Gov. Patrick.
At that point, the group proceeded upstairs to the Governor's Office and delivered the 2 postcards and the letter to an aide.
Welcoming Massachusetts is a statewide coalition that has gathered signature from over 6000 individuals, 85 organizations, and 50 elected officials in support of immigrant rights and the creation of a more welcoming environment for immigrants in the Commonwealth.