Dear undocumented students and allies,
Welcome to Penn for Immigrant Rights!
Immigration is one of the most important issues facing our country, especially as we enter the election season. There are 11 million people in the United States that are living undocumented, not including those that enter the country as refugees or seeking asylum. Furthermore, decisions concerning immigration can have substantive effects on the economy, impact our foreign policy, and question existing societal norms. While discussions of immigration policies are important, they are increasingly polarizing, inciting less meaningful dialogue and more abrasive altercations.
Therefore, we began Penn for Immigrant Rights to create a safe space for undocumented youth and allies to build a community of support. We want to invite the Penn community to join in and work with us to debunk the negative, and many times false, images and opinions that are increasingly prevalent in our media. We want to help people understand that this is not a distant issue that does not concern us, but indeed something that can have a significant affect on our communities now. It doesn’t simply impact the Latino population, but all of America especially as definitions of majority and minority began to shift. Penn for Immigrant Rights, thus, hopes to create a space where people from all backgrounds and beliefs can become more educated on the broad range of immigration issues.
At a time when undocumented students are still generally afraid of “coming out of the shadows” it may be difficult to relate to their situation or understand the reasons for their lack of legal status. The truth is that immigration is quite complicated, but it becomes more real to us when we talk about the humanity behind it. Thus, Penn for Immigrant Rights plans events throughout the year that help debunk misconceptions and connect immigration to current events.
Tania Chairez and Angel Contrera