BY JOSÉ ARNULFO CABRERA | January 15, 2020
Next Wednesday, Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States of America—the start of a new year, a new government, and the potential of new policies promised during the campaign that many of us, including myself, hope will change how our current immigration system looks. During these past four years, immigrants have lived in constant fear of the policies implemented by the Trump Administration. Our immigration system has been so radically changed that we will continue to see the policy and cultural effects far into the future.
At the same time, we will have a new Senate with a Democratic majority. Chuck Schumer from New York will be the Senate majority leader and will have the power to determine which bills will be granted a vote on the Senate floor. With all of these changes in our federal government, many feel hopeful that new policies will be introduced that will help immigrants and do away with harmful policies. Some are still hesitant to feel optimistic because they can clearly remember the disappointment they felt the last time Democrats had control of both Congress and the presidency.
President-elect Biden and Congress have a lot of work to do. There are many pending issues that will need immediate attention from the newly elected government, including those related to immigration. Asylum seeking families have been waiting in Mexico for over a year now. At the moment that I’m writing this, we are still waiting for the ruling of a federal case in Texas challenging the legality of DACA. TPS holders’ status will expire this year. People continue to die in detention centers. We must hold the new Administration and Congress accountable to following through on promises made during their campaigns.
When I was young, I loved watching my mom work as a community organizer. She would say over and over that faith moves mountains and that our organizing is our faith. There will be times when we feel that our issue won’t be heard, but we must keep advocating, keep putting the pressure on the new Biden Administration and Congress to work toward just immigration policy. Keep our faith. Keep working towards humane immigration reform.
José Arnulfo Cabrera is the director of education and advocacy for migration for the Ignatian Solidarity Network. He is a 2018 graduate of Xavier University, a DACA recipient, and an immigration activist. He previously worked with the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he provided training on lobbying, organizing, and immigration policy, as well as shared his own immigration story, and as a government relations associate with NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice in Washington, D.C.