Published: Friday, February 18, 2011
I am a proud, naturalized American citizen who believes firmly that immigration reform needs to begin from a positive starting point, not a negative one rooted in criminalization and stripping immigrants of basic civil rights. I arrived in California as a refugee when I was five years old and gained my citizenship as a teenager. This process was spurred on by my mother, who had heard rumors that the US would be deporting all non-citizen immigrants including those with legal status. My family couldn’t afford to all apply for citizenship at once so my mother and father, being the typical self-sacrificing immigrant parents, started my paperwork first, even with the false specter of deportation over their own heads.