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Alicia Delagarza's picture

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As a mother, grandmother and small business owner in Porterville, California, I can say for sure that each day the U.S. House of Representatives fails to act on immigration reform is a lost opportunity for our community. This negligence is mostly felt by women and children who make up two-thirds of all immigrants in our country, according to the U.S. Census.

I run an at-home childcare center and am in regular contact with other childcare providers who have shared stories about children being separated from their parents while at the childcare center.

Just a few days ago, childcare provider Maria Luna told me that late in the afternoon she received a panicked call from an undocumented parent who was afraid she wouldn't be able to pick up her child because a police checkpoint had been set up along her route to the childcare center. She asked Luna to come meet her, so that Luna could driver the mother's car through the checkpoint for her. The mother was afraid that if she herself were the driver that the police officers would detain her due to her immigration status and be separated from her child.

On this occasion, fortunately, the mother was able to remain with her child. If we continue with the status quo and don’t move forward to update our immigration policies, millions of parents will then continue to feel the constant threat of being separated from their children.

Right now 5.5 million children, largely U.S. citizens, run the risk of losing a parent because of our broken immigration laws.

Not only is parent-child separation a painful and considerable loss for a child, but it is also a loss for the economic security of our communities as well. When a parent is taken away, the family left behind must live on one less paycheck, which means less money is spent on local businesses.

Immigration reform will help all of us in the long run. By passing immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship, immigrant families will be able to work to their full potential and further contribute to our economy.

When immigrant families win, we all win.

And there is no reason for us not to pass this commonsense measure.

Immigration reform passed with a bipartisan vote in the Senate. Poll after poll has shown that the majority of Californians and Americans support it. But the U.S. House of Representatives has yet to act on it.

However, just this week an immigration reform bill was introduced in the House and we now need leadership from our elected officials, including Rep. Kevin McCarthy, to vote in favor of the bill.

Pass immigration reform so we can make our nation stronger.

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