My father Eli immigrated to America from Poland in 1921 after World War I at the age of 17. He was not a refugee fleeing war, although much of his family later became victims of the Holocaust. He came to America looking to make a better life. He never made a lot of money, but it didn’t matter because he was able to start a family and send his two sons to college. That meant the world to him and he loved this country.
While my father came here as an immigrant seeking economic opportunity, many immigrants arrived in our country fleeing war, oppression and violence. This is true today for thousands of women and unaccompanied children who came to our country in the last several years fleeing horrific violence in Latin America.
This week the media reported something that I find not just wrong, but inhumane: President Obama is currently planning "a month-long series of raids in May and June to deport hundreds of Central American mothers and children" who came to our country fleeing that same violence.
Sending women and children back into harm's way after they already fled horrendous violence in Central America is painful and inhumane, and must be stopped.
Sign my petition asking President Obama to stop these raids and to make sure that families fleeing violence in Central America are protected from deportation.
Donald Trump has of course called for building a "Great Wall" along the border with Mexico. Hillary Clinton previously said that these same children who fled violence in Latin America "should be sent back" in order to "send a clear message."
I happen to see things differently. I don't believe that the United States should turn away from our historic role as a haven for the oppressed.
I recently met a young Salvadoran woman who came to the United States on her own at the age of 15 to flee gangs trying to recruit her. I’ve also spoken with many children who have told me with tears streaming down their faces that they live in daily fear that their parents will be taken away.
The United States of America must continue to be a refuge for the poor, the tired, the oppressed, and certainly for women and children fleeing horrific violence.
I urge President Obama to use his executive authority to protect families by extending Temporary Protective Status for those who fled from Central America, and I ask you to join me.
Add your name to mine to ask President Obama to stop planned raids and deportations of families fleeing violence in Central and Latin America. Together, we can speak up to protect these families.