A new project is highlighting the 30th anniversary of historic immigration reform legislation.
Passed by a bipartisan Congress and signed by Republican President Ronald Reagan in November 1986, the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) put some three million undocumented immigrants on a path to legalization.
To commemorate the historic anniversary, the “Documented cIRCA 86: Immigration Reform Turns Thirty” project is calling on submissions celebrating the lives and accomplishments of immigrants who found a pathway to legalization through IRCA:
Through short video segments designed to be used online, in strategic communication campaigns, and in live public awareness events, IRCA recipients will proudly share their life stories and remind us that we are a nation of immigrants, the legacy of which has nourished our society, economy and cultural fabric throughout our history.
The stories we collect will reflect diverse ethnicities as well as races, gender, and sexual orientations, and will highlight a variety of the push and pull factors that have compelled people to leave their homelands (political upheaval, social policies, or family strife, to mention a few). These stories are the stories of parents and their children, of agricultural and restaurant workers, of leaders and workers in organized labor, of educators and students, of artists and thinkers, of law enforcement officers and public servants, and of activists and community advocates. These stories are windows into what a more just community could look like and will offer a resource, rooted in multicultural pride that aims to re-frame the term “undocumented”, By disseminating proud portraits of immigrant Americans that convey the contributions of those once branded as “illegal”, there is an opportunity to invigorate our cultural imagination with framing that lifts up, reaffirms, and insists on the fact that immigrant engagement and contributions make America better.
As anti-immigrant rhetoric from Republican candidates for President gets more and more toxic, it’s important to remember the stories of the real people whose lives have been affected by meaningful legislation. And, it’s an important reminder that Congress still needs to finish its job when it comes to updating our immigration system.
If you’re interested in submitting your own story, contact the project organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org, or click here.