April 20, 2016

THANKS, GIPPER!:

What a Reagan-Era Policy Can Teach Us About Immigration Reform Today (Ted Hesson, April 19, 2016, Vice)

Stedroy Cleghorne was a New Yorker. That's all he knew.

Sure, he had been born in Saint Kitts, a Caribbean island he distantly remembered from the first four years of his life. But he'd lived in Brooklyn since 1965, when he was four years old, and like many of his immigrant peers, he'd abandoned his accent in elementary school. "I never had an issue just blending in and being part of the American fabric," he remembers.

But when, in 1978, he decided to attend college to become a graphic artist, he realized he didn't have a Social Security number. When he asked his mother about it, she told him that she had been working with an immigration lawyer to obtain legal immigration status for him and his brother, but Cleghorne says "he pretty much was taking her money and not getting anything done."

Then he heard about a new immigration program, which legally recognized immigrants who had entered the country illegally or overstayed a visa, but who had established a life in the United States. Eager for better work and fed up with the family's immigration lawyer, he submitted an application for legal residency through the program, paid a fee, and received his green card a year later.

The program, known as the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), allowed an estimated 2.7 million immigrants to become permanent residents of the United States. For people like Cleghorne, the Reagan-era law unlocked doors to a host of new possibilities. He began a career as an illustrator and later took classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where he's served as an assistant adjunct professor since 2002.

Posted by at April 20, 2016 3:12 PM

  

« CAN YOU REGRESS IF YOU NEVER MADE ANY PROGRESS?: | Main | THE MIGHTY CALIPHATE WAR MACHINE: »