We have to fix this
A few years ago I saw a video that shocked me: Two young children crying, alone in a car, reaching out for their mother who'd been taken away by armed deputies wearing ski masks after being stopped for a minor traffic violation.
The images haven't left me.
A nightmare, right? Never in America? Wrong.
A local NBC news report described the incident through the eyes of a witness, "…the deputies were wearing ski masks and detained the children's mother for about an hour while her children watched, crying."
This wasn't an isolated incident.
In fact, across the country repeated civil rights violations and racial profiling of both citizens and non-citizens in the name of immigration enforcement have been happening all too often. This particular incident happened in Arizona where Sheriff Arpaio, when questioned about his tactics, said that under his jurisdiction, "it was not unusual for law enforcement officers to wear ski masks while on duty."
Ultimately, children and families are among the most hurt. In the video the young girl is asked, "What did the sheriff tell you?" The little girl said, "To be quiet, but I couldn't 'cause I wanted to go with my mommy."
We've all got to stand up. This type of treatment of women and families simply isn't acceptable. And part of stopping this type of inhumane treatment is moving forward to fix our broken immigration policy.
The time is now to act. Earlier this week, in a crammed high school basketball gymnasium in Las Vegas, Nevada, President Obama spoke about the need to finally fix our broken immigration system so that it's fair and also brings economic strength to our entire nation.
Even though the President made an impassioned plea in Vegas, and a bi-partisan committee of Senators has just released their principles for comprehensive immigration reform, there is no guarantee that Congress will stop their posturing and agree on policies that are good for all of our families and ensure a thriving economy.
Right now, too many families and businesses in the United States are suffering because we lack a fair, modernized roadmap to citizenship for aspiring citizens. The clock is ticking for families and for our economy.
Immigrant families are an important part of our economy. Over the last 15 years, immigrants have increased the rate by which they start businesses by more than 50 percent, and undocumented immigrants contributed more than $11 billion to our economy in 2010 alone.
Let's face it. Our current immigration laws are completely out of date and badly broken to the extent that it hurts our economy and violates human rights.
The voices of mothers are needed right now.
Let’s send a message to Congress: Now is the time! We need comprehensive, and inclusive, immigration reform that strengthens our families, unifies our communities, supports our national economy, and includes a roadmap to citizenship for aspiring citizens: http://action.momsrising.org/sign/2013Immigration_Reform/
Mothers taken away from young children by men in ski masks, and people being marched in shackles through town to electric fenced "tent cities" in the desert crosses the line of humane treatment.
Let's help put a stop to this and put our nation back on the right track.
This blogpost is part three of a four-part series on immigration in America. We highlight personal stories and offer ways to take action to support immigrant families. We invite you to come visit the blog tomorrow to check out the last of the series, and to leave your comments below. - Eds.