“I Was Raised to Never Give Up”. Exposing America’s Broken Immigration System as Experienced Through the Eyes and Advocacy of a Young DREAMer.
By Laurie Jimenez
In today’s episode I sit down with Jose Arnulfo Cabrera to share his story of being a young DREAMer in America and one of the hundreds of thousands of DACA recipients currently awaiting the decision being made on the DACA program that will determine the path of their immediate future. Jose has been involved in advocacy for human rights since he was a child, and has been tremendously involved in women’s rights and immigration reform efforts organizing and leading groups to create awareness and take a stand for their rights. José Arnulfo Cabrera was born in a small village in Mexico and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio. Growing up, Cabrera remembers his mom organizing undocumented workers in Cincinnati for a just wage and safe working conditions. During this time, he learned organizing tricks and skills to keep people engaged and hopeful during disappointing moments. It wasn’t long until Cabrera started organizing for immigration reform issues, sharing his family’s story and how he would benefit from legislation like the DREAM Act. After high school, Cabrera, a DACA recipient, studied at Xavier University, while at the same time working at the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (IJPC) in Cincinnati where he started a group called Youth Educating Society (YES). Through his work at IJPC and YES he became an advocate for DACA recipients across Cincinnati, particularly at Xavier, by training and working with staff members on making Xavier a DACA friendly campus. In 2017 Cabrera attended his first ISN program, the Ignatian Justice Summit on Immigration, where Cabrera fell in love with ISN’s mission. He spoke at the Advocacy Day Public Witness during the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in 2017 and the 2018 Ignatian Justice Summit, and has contributed to ISN’s online content. After graduation, Cabrera served as a government relations associate at NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice in Washington, D.C. where he enhanced his understanding and knowledge of furthering pro-immigrant policy. In this interview Jose shares with us what it is like living in America as an immigrant, and gives us incredible insight on the issues in the current immigration system in the United States and how immigration has become “over-politicized”. This interview exposes some very interesting points that will no doubt provide a lot of insight and understanding regarding America’s perception and handling of immigration. Covered in this Episode: The general public doesn't understand why we have a broken immigration system.Many myths about immigrants and our immigration system that are untrue.The effects the current Immigration system is having on the next generation of contributors to society- first generation Americans. People - throughout history - have always disliked immigrants.Lack of understanding of the root cause of forced migration.How Immigration has been over-politicized.Trump's role in influencing presidential candidates use fear-mongering immigrants as good campaign tactics.Exposing how policies of immigration enforcement has brought fear and trauma to the immigrant communities.Why education on immigration policies and reform is important.How to get involved to reform our Immigration System. How You Can Get Involved: Get Educated on Current Immigration Policies and Statistics. Be aware of what your elected officials are doing to try and solve our immigration system at city and state levels. Not only Federal. The policies that your city council and state legislators implement have a significant effect on undocumented immigrants. Advocate. Tell your elected officials what Bills and policies you support and which you do not by sending them letters, emails or visiting them at their designated offices. Get involved! Find a local organization that is educating and advocating to reform the current immigration system and seeking to find volunteers to help immigrants in the area. Jose Cabrera and his Organization,