Estefania got involved with the ACLU because she witnessed, first hand, how we treat immigrants in Idaho. Her path led her to strengthen the ACLU in North Idaho and make changes on the political front.
During the summer of 2013 I received an Immigrant Rights Fellowship at the ACLU of Idaho. Part of my responsibilities was to speak out for those who are being deprived of a voice and whose constitutional rights are routinely being denied.
Immigrants from all over the world have been coming to Idaho since the settling of the continent. They came, and are still coming, for a variety of reasons: to escape political or religious persecution, to find economic opportunities, or in the case of my parents, to build a new life for themselves and their family. In doing so, immigrants built and are still building Idaho, and our nation.
All too often, however, today’s immigrants, just like immigrants of the past, are being deprived of the promises of the Constitution. Their rights are trampled on, discrimination is rampant and they struggle to find meaningful work because of changing government policies. Too often the government deports people without due process of law. Many immigrants are afraid to report crimes because they fear the police will turn them over to federal authorities for deportation.
But there is hope. For a quarter of a century, the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project has been working at the federal, state and local levels to bring justice and the protection of the Constitution to the immigrant community. I am proud to have played a part in this project. I worked on pressuring local and state officials to enact legislation that is fair and just. We organized immigrants and first-generation Americans to participate in public life and to petition elected officials.
The Preamble to the Constitution promises “the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” I fervently believe that those blessings are the right of everyone, from the President of the United States to the newest arrival in this country. That’s why it is a privilege to be a member of the ACLU.