Reshma Shamasunder is the Executive Director of the California Immigrant Policy Center.
Blog Post List
April 29, 2014
Mother's day is less than two weeks away. And right now, a family in California's Antelope Valley is wondering whether they'll be together to embrace and celebrate their mom on that day, or whether they'll be torn apart by broken policies. The decision could be made in hours. And if we take action to support this family, we moms could make all the difference. Maria Isabel Zavala lived in Lancaster, California for ten years, where she sought to provide the best life possible for her three younger children. The family is part of the fabric of their community. Two of Maria's children now have...
October 7, 2013
Today marks the dawn of a new era in California's immigrant communities. This victory belongs first and foremost to the brave undocumented Californians facing deportation after minor or wrongful arrests who came forward from the shadows and told their stories in hopes that other community members would not endure similar injustices. But all Californians will reap the benefits of increased trust in local law enforcement. Soon, immigrant Californians and their family members will have the confidence that minor or unjustified arrests for things like selling food without a permit or having dogs...
May 29, 2013
I love the month of May. The flowers are in full bloom and the promise of beach days ahead is tantalizing. But there’s another reason May is so special – it’s a celebration of the heritage of Asian Pacific Americans and our long and diverse histories. Amidst the incredible diversity of Asian American cultures and experiences, there’s often a common thread: a deep commitment to family and strong ties to siblings, parents, and extended family members. In fact, family is the cornerstone for many immigrant communities, and it’s also supposed to be a cornerstone of our immigration system. But...
May 10, 2013
Like most moms, Mother's Day for me is an opportunity to celebrate with my children and family, and reflect upon how deeply I cherish motherhood. While supporting our children as they grow and adapt to the world is joyful, we moms face so many challenges along the way -- the pain of watching our child fall off a bike, face hurtful words from a friend, or experience disappointment at a bad grade. These are all normal parts of childhood, and as tough as they are, these difficulties also make our children stronger and more resilient. But there are some things moms shouldn't have to worry about...
December 10, 2012
What would you do if you found out your daughter had a life-threatening illness -- and you had no way to pay for the treatment? Would you pack up everything, cross a border, and move to a new country, if it meant the chance to work and earn enough to save her life? I’m a mother and I would. In a heartbeat. A brave woman whom we'll call "Eva" did exactly that, immigrating to the US to give her daughter with a severe medical condition a chance. Once here in California, Eva worked hard, contributed to her community, and did everything she could to build a better life for her loved ones...
September 21, 2012
My three daughters are asleep in their rooms as I write this. I was fortunate to eat dinner with them, help them with their homework, and read them a bedtime story this evening. But many immigrant mothers in the US are being cruelly and forcefully torn away from their children. As a mom, I am appalled by what the Federal “Secure Communities” (S-Comm) deportation program is doing to parents and children across this country. Take the situation of Maria from Lodi, CA, mother to two young children, ages 2 and 3 months. Maria had endured repeated physical abuse by her boyfriend. Finally, out of...
October 10, 2011
On October 8, in response to Governor Jerry Brown's signing of AB 131 (Cedillo), the second half of the California DREAM Act, the California Immigrant Policy Center issued the following statement: We heartily applaud Governor Brown's historic decision to sign AB 131. We agree with the Governor that "...The Dream Act benefits us all by giving top students a chance to improve their lives and the lives of all of us." The California DREAM Act will assist talented young people who have excelled in school and are Americans - and Californians - in all but paperwork. The Act will nurture the...
May 23, 2011
I am writing this as I pack my suitcase and laptop bag to go to Sacramento for the 15th annual Immigrant Day at the Capitol. Buzzing around me are my three daughters, ages 8, 5 and 1. They ask questions ranging from the mundane to the profound. As I look at them, its clear to me why I am heading to the Capitol. Like any mom, I want to do everything I can to ensure their successful future as well as broaden the horizons for millions of young girls like them. Fifteen years ago, long before my girls were born, immigrants from nearly every culture and community gathered for the first day at the...