Michael Y.

As Interviewed by Maya H.Y., March 15th, 2017

Michael Y.: In His Own Words

This is an interview with Michael Young, where he talks about his experiences working with DREAMers.

Many people think, and I agree with them, that the Immigrant's Rights Movement is the next Civil Rights Movement. Itís the Civil Rights Movement of our day. Itís about human rights. No one is illegal. Money crosses borders, goods cross borders, but workers canít cross borders? That doesnít make sense to me.

People come here, they come here to make a living, and then they in effect donít have legal rights to protect themselves, so they in effect second-class citizens. So the immigrant rights movement is about removing the legal barriers that create the second status that makes them something less than equal humans in this country. So in that sense, I think the Immigrantís Rights Movement is a civil rights movement.

For me, by far, the most disturbing thing that Iíve seen over and over again is seeing families split up. Many immigrant families in the United States are what sociologists would call ďmixed status familiesĒ -- that is not everyone in the family has the same immigration status. So what happens is when a parent gets deported, many families want to stay because, one, some of them are citizens, many of them have opportunities here, so the family gets split and they can never see each other again, because the dreamer canít cross borders to see the deported parent, the child, who maybe is a citizen, is of a younger age and canít travel on their own, the mother or another parent who hasnít been deported doesnít have legal status, so the family is basically broken, broken in half. So you have parts of the family that are on one side of the border and they can never regain contact with their family.

Seeing those family torn asunder -- to me thatís the most heart-wrenching thing about our immigration system and the way it works, how it destroys families.