Juntos’ Statement on Obama’s Announcement; Deferred Action for Undocumented Youth

On Friday, June 15, 2012, The White House announced that President Obama signed a memo calling for Deferred Action to Undocumented youth who:

  • Came to the U.S under the age of 16 and are currently under the age of 30
  • Have lived in the Country for over 5 years
  • Have a High School/GED Diploma or a veteran from the Coast Guard/Armed Forces
  • Have no criminal record and are not considered “to post a threat to national security or public safety ,including having been convicted of a felony, a “significant” misdemeanor or multiple misdemeanors.”

Juntos and our youth leadership committee, FUERZA, consider this mandate to be a step in the right direction,but is not the  solution to a broken immigration system We are proud of the work that DREAMers in the National Immigrant Youth Alliance do to put pressure on officials to do the right thing.  For weeks they have been “Undoccupying” Obama campaign offices demanding action and today, the White House had no choice but to respond.  We at Juntos fully support our brothers and sisters in this struggle because we know, no matter what your immigration status, you have the right to stand up and fight back against injustices.

The vast majority of our communities are not getting a quality education due to an underfunded public education system which every year serves our students less and less.  Many of our youth fall victim to the infamous School to Prison Pipeline and end up dropping out of school.  Statistics show that out of school youth are much more likely to enter into the criminal justice system.  It is clear that our undocumented youth who have entered into the School to Prison Pipeline do not benefit from this mandate.  They will remain in not just the School to Prison Pipeline but the School to Deportation Pipeline.We support all of our undocumented youth who fight for an immigration reform that is inclusive of ALL our communities, including those that have fallen into the School to Prison/Deportation pipeline. Juntos and our FUERZA youth will hold President Obama accountable on this newest promise but our country and our communities deserve better.  We cannot wait any longer.

En la lucha,Juntos

Youth Leadership: FUERZA!

What is Fuerza…

Fuerza is the youth leadership committee of Juntos, a Latino Immigrant community-led organization fighting for our human rights on issues such as education, labor, and immigration.  Fuerza was founded in the fall of 2011 by student leaders in South Philadelphia to address these issues from a youth perspective.  Fuerza youth identified the Latino drop-out rate in the city of Philadelphia as an issue to address as well as college access for undocumented youth.  Juntos sees the importance of youth leadership and guidance in empowering our communities.
Many youth in our community have felt at one point or another discouraged by the education system.  For immigrant youth, many have felt the burden of learning without knowing English, have struggled through underfunded schools, and have experienced depression and isolation when thinking of life after high school. For many youth applying to college is a daunting task and having a counselor to help through that process is a blessing. But when you are undocumented it becomes even more challenging; you have many questions.  What most youth in Fuerza have experienced is not far from the experience of most undocumented youth in our city… many counselors do not know how to support them.  They are not clear on what rights these youth have to a college education and how to navigate the application and financial process to obtaining a college education.
Latino youth in Philly come from many different experiences; some were born here, some came to the US as young children, and some recently arrived.

FUERZA youth out in the community informing people about their rights

FUERZA meets every Wednesday evening at 5pm @ 2029 s 8th st (corner of 8th st and Snyder Ave)