Hundreds of Thousands of Latino Fathers Are Not With Their Families Today
I just read a Happy Father's Day message that inspired me to write something myself, as a father and not as president of USHLI. That message came from a friend who seemed to have inadvertently implied on national television last Friday that Sen. Rubio's so-called DREAM Act-Lite could possibly offer a more long-term solution than President Obama's short-term solution that effectively sets the stage for 800,000 or more undocumented students to attend school and apply for a work permit. What one had to do with the other, I'm not sure, but my sense is that the writer was using a Happy Father's Day wish to erase the perception created earlier - that Rubio's yet-to-be-proposed solution was better than Obama's.
To me, if we want to connect Obama's announcement regarding DREAMers with Father's Day, it should be in the following manner. On this special day we should pause and remember the hundreds of thousands of Latino fathers who cannot be with their families today because they were deported during the last three years. An estimated 1.2 million undocumented workers have been deported since January, 2009, of whom, according to the Pew Research Center, 97% were Latino.
I'm sure that many of the hundreds of thousands of our deported fathers marched with us in 2006 and many helped turn out the record-breaking Latino vote in 2008. I am sure they believed Obama during the 2008 campaign when he said that he would stop the raids and pass comprehensive immigration reform during his first year as President. I'm also sure they expected more than the 2-year "temporary" reprieve we got last week for their children, our undocumented students.
Yes, we should commend President Obama for issuing the Executive Order last Friday. Having said that, now we should ask him if that was the best he could do and what took him so long.
So, on this special day, let's remember our dearly deported fathers that are not very "happy" today because they cannot be with their families like the rest of us, because we gave them something to believe in and then let them down. They too are fathers, and our brothers, and we are their keepers.
Juan Andrade, Jr.