Comprehensive Immigration Reform Now is a short series of activities for an adult English class that combine conversation, grammar and advocating for comprehensive immigration reform. The work culminated in a letter sent to students’ representatives. The letter itself and a link to sign on in solidarity can be found here. Other curricular resources can be found here.
The letter itself is below.
To Our Representatives:
Immigrants and undocumented people of all ages are at risk in this country. We have the same value as all other human beings, and we need help. We are not asking for charity, we are demanding our rights that we deserve.
We are equal and we work like other people, but we have problems. Undocumented students who were brought here as children cannot apply for Federal student loans or scholarships, even though this is the only country they know. They also are not always allowed to get the jobs they have trained for. Families are the basis of society, but we always live in fear that we can be separated from our families. Deportation means people, families and whole communities suffer. We also need to keep our families safe and healthy. Undocumented people cannot get health insurance. There are also people who came here because of natural disasters in their countries, like earthquakes and hurricanes. They have been working hard here, and they don’t have a safe place to go back to. It doesn’t matter where you are from, you need to be safe and you have rights.
Undocumented residents deserve citizenship because we work every day – we help get food to people’s tables. Many of the essential workers that have kept working during the pandemic are undocumented. We need protection at work so that we are not exploited. Immigrant workers deserve respect and dignity. We should not have to ask for it because we work for this country.
Right now, there are almost 350,000 lawful permanent residents in New Jersey who could be citizens and the government should encourage them to get citizenship. These people need to know the benefits of being a citizen. For example, they can vote. When people become citizens they have more opportunities. They can get better jobs and they can sponsor their families to come to the US. But the process is too long and too difficult, and there is not enough support. People are afraid of the process because of their English skills. Some people can’t answer the questions. This is especially true for older people. It is not fair for them. They are always working, sometimes two jobs, because one job does not pay enough – life here is expensive. Working all the time means they don’t have time to study English, or even when they do, there are no classes when they are not working. The State should provide more resources to help lawful permanent residents become citizens, including more English classes. We support Make the Road New Jersey’s request that $2,000,000 be invested on citizenship services.
This is the time to bring people in from the shadows. We need comprehensive immigration reform now, and we demand Congress provide a swift and inclusive pathway to citizenship for all.
The Intermediate English Class at Make the Road New Jersey