Jennifer Angarita, national worker center coordinator at the AFL-CIO, sent the following message to working family activists:
I’m going to tell you something very personal: My father finally became a citizen of the United States after almost 30 years of waiting.
My parents brought me to the United States when I was 13 months old to escape economic hardship and war in Colombia. I grew up in Dallas and my favorite foods were pizza, chocolate chip cookies and empanadas. My parents worked hard to put me through school, and I was proud to be the first person in my family to graduate from college.
America is the only home I have ever known. And it’s my family’s home. I’ve been waiting for most of my life to be a full citizen of this country. In a few years, my dream will become a reality. But it’s come at a price. In order for me to be eligible for a green card, my mother had to wait to apply for her citizenship, and the decades of waiting in limbo caused obstacles and hardship for my family.
It shouldn’t be so hard. Creating a commonsense immigration process isn’t just a policy proposal. It’s real life for me, my parents and the 11 million brave aspiring citizens who come to this country because all people have rights, no matter what they look like or where they come from. Will you pledge to win a road map to citizenship for all of us?
My mom always used to say that our family would become citizens “si Dios quiere,” or “if God wants.” My parents didn’t try to jump any line, or ask for anything other than a chance to work hard and make a better life for us. And I’ve worked hard as a student and as a worker in this country, doing everything I can to be eligible for citizenship status. I’m lucky my dream is almost a reality, but for millions of working families today, a road map to citizenship simply doesn’t exist.
That’s why I need you to join in this fight. You probably know what it’s like to work hard and still have trouble getting ahead, or to pick up and move somewhere new to make your life better for your family. The promise of America isn’t just for some of us—it’s for everyone, regardless of status, regardless of where your family is from, regardless of how long you’ve been here.
I’m working to build a voice for all working families—regardless of their status—here at the AFL-CIO. I’m fighting for me, for my parents and for every worker who believes they should have a voice on the job and the ability to stand up to management and corporations who want to take away our rights as workers. And I’m proud to work for labor, which was built on the backs of immigrants.
Sign your name to our pledge to win citizenship for all: