On May 19th supporters of immigration reform ‒ particularly the deferred action programs created by President Obama’s executive order ‒ held a rally in Los Angeles on the day that the programs would have come into effect had they not been slapped with a legal injunction.
The programs offer temporary relief from the threat of deportation and the right to legally gain work in the United States, open a bank account, obtain a driver’s license in California, access some public healthcare, put in an application for a Social Security number, and travel inside the country; however, the injunction means that “millions of immigrant families will remain in limbo,” as National Immigration Law Center staff attorney Alvaro Huerta puts it.
Advocates for immigrant rights attended the rally and the round table media briefing with New America Media, which was held at 500 West Temple Street ‒ the Los Angeles County Supervisors Building – to help kick off the Ready California campaign. The statewide campaign has been set up by legal service providers, local government agencies, congregations, media, financial services, community organizations, foreign consulates, philanthropic foundations and unions to help immigrants to regularize their status.
“[The authorities] have to acknowledge that we are people who contribute to this great nation,” says undocumented factory worker Isabel Medina, who has been paying US taxes for 17 years and has two children who are legal citizens. “They have to know that they are not just hurting our families bu separating us, but also they are hurting America because we contribute.”