Melissa Harris-Perry | February 02, 2013
>>> in talking about comprehensive immigration reform policy, we cannot forget the most important part, the people. there are an estimated 11 million undocumented workers in the u.s. 58% are from mexico and 23% from various other parts of latin america , and 11% are from asia, and 4% from europe and canada. the obama administration's deferred action for childhood arrival initiative would help the youngest of the 11 million achieve status, and 936,930 immigrants or 426,300 meet the requirement for deferred action, and 31% of those between ages 5-14 will be eligible in the future. we are and have always been an immigrant society whether fleeing persecution or looking for a better way of life , the u.s. has always had an abundant promise for the immigrant, but it is the promise that the dreamers are now demanding be made real in this moment. back at the table, aisha moodi moodie-mills, and immigration attorney michael wilds, and christina jimenez, executive director of united we dream network, and joining us is the chair of the dream network, and you are undocumented and working through the system, and can you talk to me about that?
>> i have recently applied for the deferred action and waiting, and i'm still undocumented, but waiting. in so many aspects. i graduated law school and passed one of the most tormenting and difficult law exams, but i hope to be a licensed lawyer pending the outcome, and represent my community, but because of the status, new york does not know how to deal with the issue.
>> and this is important, because we heard from the early blocs of the idea of immigrant labor talking about low wage labor , and construction and fast food , but a lot of that is not because necessarily where people would end up, but because the undocumented status, itself, means when you have for example finished law school and passed the bar exam that you can't be admitted to certain aspects of the professional and the white co collar world, because undocumented status makes it tough to be there.
>> exactly. that is what when i was going to college, i paid for my tuition by selling avon products and working --
>> a shout out for avon.
>> avon paid for my college. and having no papers is marginalizing, and i worked with young people all across the country, and when you are undocumented and you are going to high school and you the teachers telling you the work hard and you will ak kccomplish your dreams and going into college, you realize you run document and you cannot go, and you work so hard and that is what happened i was in the top ten of the class and i wanted to go to college and become the first person in my family to get a higher education , and my college adviser said to me, if you don't have a social security number , you can't go. that was the driving force behind me saying, this is not right. this not reflective of the values that we believe in, in this nation. if you don't have papers, you can't have access to scholarships and to my experience, access to fellowships and you can't work, and we have a lawyer here and nurses who cannot practice their professions.
>> and the thesis, encourage people into t he professions, to have them participate and help us in our military, and our first doca case wiis a young lady in harvard law school , and the pride and joy of the family, and can you imagine going to harvard law school , and being -- other than the one we at the end, and i teach at the cardoza law school business and immigration administration. there are people seeking a career in immigration law , and there are children who are smarter, stronger, and better than others, and we want to get them here. we want science and technology and engineering students here.
>> and part of it is that we talked about the immigrant work ethic , but part of it is the immigration work ethic , and to the extent that you want your kids to come for the better life and the educational opportunity. so we will take a quick break and i want to come back to talk about the dreerms and how you are shifting the entire discourse of what immigration is in this country. [