“Organize and Fight for Genuine Immigration Reform,” says Anakbayan-USA

New Jersey – National Filipino youth organization, Anakbayan-USA, calls on the Filipino youth and community to organize and struggle for genuine immigration reform.  This, according to the youth group, is in response to President Barack Obama’s recent executive order concerning DREAM Act eligible youth, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA.

“Seeing the thousands of youth lining up to apply for deferred action only reaffirms the need to organize and intensify our struggle for genuine immigration reform,” said Yves Nibungco, national chairperson of Anakbayan-USA.  “Clearly, DeferredAction is not the DREAM Act and it is most certainly not a path to legalization for our brothers and sisters,” Nibungco continued.

Deferred Action is an executive order by President Obama relieving DREAM Act eligible youth under age 31 from deportation providing that they qualify and fulfill its requirements.  It also allows them to apply for a work permit and in some states, a driver’s license.  This application comes with a fee of $465. An estimated 1.7 million youth are supposed to benefit from this administrative relief.  

But according to Anakbayan-USA, this recent development is a clear political maneuver by Obama in relation to the upcoming presidential elections this November. “Deferred Action is not a gift from Obama, rather it is a testament to the strength of the collective action of thousands of immigrant youth who took to the streets to put pressure on the government,”said Nibungco.  

Anakbayan-USA calls on the youth to be cautious in applying for Deferred Action.  As an executive order, Deferred Actionis not a law and may be subject to change at any time.  According to the youth group, this makes undocumented youth serve as “political hostages” in President Obama’s bid for a second term as presidential candidate. The youth group said that immigrant communities should not forget that under Obama’s administration, 1.1 million immigrants have been deported since 2009, higher than any other president since the 1950’s. Meanwhile, presidential candidate, Mitt Romney has said that he will veto the DREAM Act if he gets elected.   

That is why, according to Anakbayan-USA, Filipino immigrants should join the fight and push for legalization for all. “We call on the Filipino youth and the community to come together and take a stand on the side of immigrants. Let us organize and fight for genuine immigration reform here in the U.S. and an end to the Philippine government’s exploitative labor export program,” Nibungco concluded. 

The United States is home to the largest population of overseas Filipinos, numbering more than 4 million. With one million estimated to be undocumented, Filipinos are heavily impacted by the current inhumane immigration system, such as decade-long waiting periods for petitions of family members, rampant detentions and deportations.

These numbers continue to rise as the Philippine government intensifies its the Labor Export Program. This program that has led to the forced migration of Filipinos at the rate of over 4,700 leaving the country daily. Remittances from the nearly 15 million overseas Filipinos continue to remain at an all-time high contributing to 12% of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  Last year alone, remittances from overseas Filipinos reached $20 billion. The Aquino administration has substituted this for genuine land reform and national industrialization as foundations for national development.*

Chapters of Anakbayan-USA nationwide will be conducting more info sessions regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. For more information contact anakbayan.usa@gmail.com

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