Fifty Years Later, We Have a Dream

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Today Americans for Immigrant Justice commemorates the historic 1963 March on Washington. Fifty years later, the unforgettable words of the Rev. Martin Luther King continue to move us today, just as fifty years ago they galvanized millions to demand full equality for all Americans.

 

Rev. King’s dream also inspired our friend and DREAMer extraordinaire, Gaby Pacheco. In 2010, Gaby and three other DREAMers marched to shine a light on the plight of 11 million undocumented immigrants in America. Long a leader of the DREAM movement, she served as national policy director of United We DREAM. Now Gaby directs the Bridge Project, which works to engage bipartisan support for fair and just immigration reform.

Gaby continues to inspire us with her work on behalf of American immigrants. We are honored to share this message from her:

aij-Gaby-Pacheco.jpg“Americans for Immigrant Justice has become part of my DNA.  I remember the day we were in Cheryl Little’s office at AI Justice and she was saying, ‘Don’t do it, don’t walk. But if you do it, we will have every attorney there for you, working to protect you.’  With AI Justice’s support, we walked more than 1,500 miles, from Miami to Washington D.C.–our Trail of Dreams—and electrified what became known as the DREAMer movement.

As a DREAMer—someone who came to the U.S. as a child without documentation—I am directly aware of the hardships undocumented immigrants face. But I did not

walk to Washington solely for DREAMers. I also walked for my parents who have been fighting deportation from the United States for many years. They are hard working, loving parents, and they came here dreaming of a better life for me, my sisters and my brother. Lawyer after lawyer told us, “there is nothing else we can do, your family will be deported.” So again I went to AI Justice. Cheryl said, ‘We will help.’ And today my parents are still here with us.

When Congress failed to adopt the DREAM Act—which offered DREAMers a path to legal status—I again turned to AI Justice. Cheryl drafted a legal memo that I gave to the White House making the case that the Obama administration could create a program for DREAMers to stay in the U.S. legally. We then met with White House officials to again press our case. Three weeks later, the Administration announced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals—known as DACA—on June 15, 2012.

DACA was a dream that became a reality only because of AI Justice. Today AI Justice faces an unprecedented financial challenge. In the last three years it  has lost more than $1 million dollars in funding from the Florida Bar Foundation, which had to make  funding cuts to legal-aid organizations like AI Justice because of reduced funding. Despite this loss, AI Justice continues its groundbreaking work and helping immigrants case by case.

AI Justice has believed in us and been there for us year after year. Now it is time to help AI Justice. Please join me in making a donation to AI Justice today to ensure that it continues to help and protect vulnerable immigrants like me and my family.  Your help is critically needed, please be as generous as you can.”

– Gaby

TO GUARANTEE THAT AMERICANS FOR IMMIGRANT JUSTICE CAN CONTINUE ITS VITAL WORK ON BEHALF OF IMMIGRANTS LIKE GABY AND HER FAMILY, CONTRIBUTE TODAY.

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About Us:

AI Justice is an award-winning non-profit law and advocacy firm that protects and promotes the basic human rights of immigrants. In Florida and on a national level, we champion the rights of unaccompanied immigrant children; advocate for survivors of trafficking and domestic violence; serve as a watchdog on immigration detention practices and policies; and speak for immigrant groups who have particular and compelling claims to justice.