A project of the Center for Community Change

Putting Faces on the Immigration Debate

By: Erin Brock

inside out 1The Inside Out photo project has come to DC to take on immigration reform.  The group, who uses large portraits taken in their mobile photo booth as art installations around the world, has begun a campaign called the 11 Million.  This campaign is meant to highlight the people involved in the fight for comprehensive immigration reform from first generation immigrants to DREAMers to campaign organizers to supporters-all people who are calling on Congress to create a common sense fix for our broken immigration system.

Besides growing awareness for the comprehensive immigration reform movement, projects like these are imperative in reminding our policy makers that the lives of thousands of Americans are in their hands.  Working with immigration this summer has shown me the importance of personalizing issues more than ever. Too often, undocumented immigrants are overlooked. But when you get to know them, you learn about their struggles, why they came here, and why they want to stay here. With immigration in particular, it’s hard to fathom the reach of the broken system-it effects such a large percentage of Americans, sometimes in ways we don’t realize.

The Inside Out Immigration project and similar projects remind lawmakers and the American public that there are people behind these issues.  These are the faces of constituents and voters saying “we care and so should you.” As a country of immigrants we cannot forget about our heritage; though a lot has changed since my ancestors migrated many generations ago it is clear immigration is still a national issue. The diversity of faces highlighted in these art installations calls on Congress to remember that immigration is our history and immigration will be our future; the time is now to fix the broken system.

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