Southern Hospitality: Welcoming the American DREAM
Written by Javier Velazquez and Jaime Rangel
Text the word IMMIGRATION to 864-237 and join GALEO’s efforts to pass the #DREAMAct!
December 12, 2017
Growing up in Georgia, we were raised with strong conservative values, a love of God and neighbor, and always acting on our southern hospitality. We are proud of our cities, our state, and want to welcome others and help them become the best versions of themselves through hard work. Psalm 116:5 tell us, “The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.” It is through our southern hospitality, our compassion and our consideration that we must address a key issue facing our nation and state: the fate of our Dreamers.
In Georgia, we have over 24,000 Dreamers who were brought into the country illegally through no fault of their own. These individuals, who grew up honoring our flag, learning southern values, accepting Christ as their personal savior, and who call themselves Americans are at risk of being deported to a country they know nothing about. Over 80% of these Dreamers are gainfully employed and contributing to local economies and communities, including several entrepreneurs that hire U.S. citizens. Twenty percent of Dreamers work in healthcare or education, two key industries that struggle for workers across rural counties. Dreamers are not only helping our state continue to be the leading state in which to do business, but they are devoting their lives to heal the sick and educate our next generation.
Make no mistake, we strongly believe in smarter border security that will deter the unsafe practice of illegal immigration as well as protect our borders from drugs and dangerous gangs. We also believe in the need to prioritize severe criminal aliens for deportation and keeping our communities safe through enforcement measures. With that being said, we cannot turn our backs on Dreamers, all of whom pass background checks, pay taxes, and are accounted for by our government while they remain in the U.S. We do not believe in amnesty nor handouts, simply a pathway to prosperity for these young Americans who have fallen through the cracks of our broken immigration system.
Eight out of ten Americans believe that Dreamers deserve a path to citizenship and it is time that Congress takes action on this issue. Not only is this the right thing to do morally, but it would be beneficial to our state’s economy. Without a legislative fix for Dreamers, Georgia will lose over $1 billion in GDP annually along with millions in lost tax revenue as we send thousands of workers and employers back into the shadows.
Our congressional delegation is ready to get to work on the issue and pass conservative led immigration reform. They need to hear from the local parties, our business leaders, educators, and every single Georgian that believes in the American Dream.
We must all ask ourselves, are we going to be inhumane and allow 800,000 individuals to be deported from this great country they call home? Or are we going to do what President Reagan said, “keep faith with our God, that we did act worthy of ourselves; that we did protect and pass on lovingly that shining city on a hill.”
Javier Velazquez (GIL ’17) Co-founder of Uproot Online
Jaime Rangel (GIL ’14) Conservative
NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the authors only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, Executive Director of GALEO at firstname.lastname@example.org.