In 2009, the United States deported a woman named Laura despite her panicked pleas that if her violent ex-boyfriend found her in Mexico, he would kill her. They ignored an order of protection that suggested the same.
Guess where this is going. Three days after her return, Laura was strangled to death. Last week, Mexican groups sued on behalf of Laura's three young children, claiming that her deportation was also a death sentence.
Laura's death is only one devastating illustration of how broken our immigration system is, and how badly we need the reform that is being debated in the Senate as I type. We need reform, and we need it done right. Women represent more than half of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States today. Immigrant women are leaders, job creators, change-makers and more -- despite serious odds. The current system needlessly denies women their right to health care and safety; separates children and parents; and prevents women from realizing their full potential -- and investing that potential fully in the future of this country. Real reform will support the human rights of all people who live and work here. That means including and protecting the particular circumstances, needs, health concerns, human rights -- and lives -- of immigrant women.
And look what we're up against: from the current system that devalues the lives of real women and men, to a group that just burst onto the scene to advocate for the deportation of our most famous woman of copper: the Statue of Liberty. Why? She has no working papers. She's taking a job from a qualified American statue. She's French.
Are those people for real? Well... no. (But I had you for a second, didn't I?) Deport the Statue, I'm relieved (and proud) to report, is Breakthrough's brand-new satirical campaign designed to mobilize new and larger audiences in support of fair and humane, inclusive and sane immigration reform.
Perhaps you'll agree, after all, that the idea of deporting the Statue of Liberty is less outrageous than knowingly delivering a woman into violence. Hence our choice of humor and satire as strategy for this campaign (which we developed in partnership with the Yes Lab). Satire and humor work, even -- perhaps especially -- with serious issues. And today, when deployed through online multimedia, humor has particular power to reach new people -- when was the last time you saw advocacy for immigration rights on Funny or Die? -- challenging norms, resetting assumptions, and undoing apathy.
And with momentum on our side right now, we also need new supporters on our side. That's why immigration reform advocacy, from Fedoras for Fairness to the No Papers, No Fear ride aboard the Undocubus and more, keeps getting more and more creative. We all have to keep innovating -- and innovation has been in Breakthrough's DNA since the beginning. So I hope you'll explore -- and share -- the humorous fictional universe we've created, and help build a larger and louder groundswell than ever.
At press time, the Senate version of the reform bill -- with some notable and troubling exceptions -- includes strong protections for immigrant women and enables them to walk the path to citizenship. As the bill moves to the Senate floor and beyond, we need to make sure it stays at least as strong, inclusive, and fair as it is now.
So join us. Watch, share, act. Together we can #takeLibertyback. We can secure reform that enables all immigrants to realize their full personal, economic -- and creative -- potential, which means our country will, too. Together we can build an America that upholds our shared values of dignity, equality, and justice for all.