TIME Magazine editors named Barack Obama their “Person of the Year” today–but in the magazine’s recent Readers’ Choice poll for the same award, the President came in at 18th. ”Undocumented Immigrants“ finished with a strong third, while The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart took second, and first place went to North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un (after meddling from 4chan.)
Undocumented immigrants have already been featured on the cover of TIME Magazine–in June, when undocumented Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas appeared with a group of DREAMers. The cover allowed these young activists, many of whom we know and work with, to tell their stories to a much larger audience than usual. Everyone who read that piece now knows a DREAMer. Since then, these young aspiring citizens have gone on to successfully pressure President Obama to announce his deferred action for DREAMers (DACA) program, watch one of their own give a speech at the Democratic National Convention, and help turn out a record-breaking number of Latino voters in last month’s election–propelling the issue of immigration reform to a national priority.
We were really inspired by that strong third place finish against so many strong competitors, which shows the growing strength of our movement. There was a time, in the not-too-distant past, when our side would have been swamped by the anti-immigrant extremists in an online, grassroots undertaking like this. The nativist forces were renowned for their organizing skills, which often intimidated Members of Congress. But times have changed–immigration reform supporters have become a major force. And undocumented Americans are no longer relegated to the shadows, but appearing on the front page of an international magazine. Just another sign of the new paradigm on immigration reform.