Our friends and allies in North Dakota have been steadfast in their welcome of immigrants and refugees. We’re grateful for that, and today I’d like to share a heartfelt op-ed by West Fargo resident Vicki Schmidt about the pressing need for comprehensive immigration reform.
In her August 2 piece for the High Plains Reader, “North Dakota Needs Immigration Reform,” she writes:
My family and I lost our home to a flood in 1997. As the waters slowly overtook our house, a Kurdish refugee family came and toiled beside us, filling sandbags in the freezing rain. I asked the father of the family why. He replied, haltingly: “When I come here as refugee, you help me; now, you refugee, and I want to help you.”
I’ve worked with refugees since I was 12 years old, and this kind of story is repeated in many more such moments throughout my life. I think of it and I’m always inspired to give back to others, because of the ways refugees and undocumented people have done that for my family and for the community.
What this means, at this critical moment in American history, is I must add my voice to countless others calling for fair and common sense immigration reform. My commitment to fixing our broken system is not unique; it unites me with the majority of Americans who want a solution that keeps families together and offers a roadmap to earned citizenship for aspiring new Americans.
She concludes with a powerful call for reform:
What that means, at this moment, is that it’s vital for the House to pass legislation that mirrors or improves on the Senate immigration reform bill, S.744. I believe, as North Dakotans, we can and should expect our elected officials to act in this way, with wisdom and leadership. Once legislation passes, may we all be blessed with neighbors who help us when floodwaters are at the door.
Please read the op-ed by clicking the link in the headline above, and show your support by Liking and Sharing the piece through Facebook and other social media, and sending the link to your friends, colleagues, and family members.
This August, as Members of Congress head home for recess, is a critical time for the House of Representatives to hear voices like Vicki Schmidt’s. On behalf of LIRS, I’d like to thank her for writing this piece, and for her great devotion to immigration and refugee issues. We’re also grateful to the High Plains Reader for publishing her op-ed.
If you read the piece and feel inspired, now is the moment to raise your own voice for fair immigration reform via the LIRS Action Center. Also, please don’t forget to sign up to receive alerts from this blog, and check out our new Immigration Reform Mythbuster.
Thank you for all that you do to Stand for Welcome!