Immigration Reform Survey

Immigration reform continues to gain momentum with the government reopening, however there is still much debate not only in regards to whether or not there should be an immigration reform, but also in regards to what makes a reform plan comprehensive. President Obama has urged House Republicans to support a reform plan before the end of 2013 and during the government shutdown the House Democrats introduced an immigration reform plan on October 2, 2013. Mark Zuckerberg’s organization recently announced that in collaboration with LinkedIn and its founder Reid Hoffman, it will be hosting a DREAMer Hackathon in which undocumented students will work hand in had with top Silicon Valley programmers in an effort to draw attention to the need for Immigration Reform. Meanwhile, political movements such as Yo Soy 132 Bay Area and By Any Means Necessary  (BAMN) continue to take action in marches asking Obama to end deportations and demand full citizenship rights for all.

According to the Pew Research Center, California is the state with the largest population of undocumented immigrants. This survey is an opportunity for you to express your thoughts and opinions on immigration reform and what makes a plan comprehensive or not. Where do you fall in the immigration reform debate, and would an immigration reform affect you?

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey on immigration reform. Your insight will be compiled into an article in which any questions and concerns that arise will also be addressed. Stay tuned for more on immigration reform at

Milli Atkinson: Immigration Attorney for CALI

Milli Atkinson of Centro de Ayuda Legal para Inmigrantes (CALI) from Natalie Rodriguez on Vimeo.

Milli Atkinson is an Immigration Attorney for the Centro de Ayuda Legal para Inmigrantes, CALI, who believes that although the proposed immigration reform S. 744 is not perfect, it is a start to give undocumented immigrants an option to legalize their status in the United States. To her, the idea of having an open border is unrealistic, yet she believes that “we created a system that businesses welcome [undocumented immigrants] and then the government turns a blind eye, and then we’ve kind of created our own problems.”

Through her career as an immigration lawyer Atkinson has been able to reunite families who had not seen each other in up to ten years as well a work in removal defense. Through Governor Jerry Brown’s recent signing of AB 60 and the Trust Act in California, she believes that undocumented immigrants will be more whiling to collaborate with law enforcement when they are victims of crimes and be less likely to become involved in deportation procedures. According to Atksinson, “a lot of people got caught up in the deportation process just for stupid things and some times even when they weren’t charged with anything.” Being able to drive legally in the state will change that for some of the more than two million undocumented immigrants in California.

Atkinson obtained her Bachelor of Science degree from Pepperdine University in accounting in the year 2000. In 2003 she obtained her Juris Doctor degree from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. In 2009 she began practicing full time immigration law through a private practice. Four years later, in February of 2013 she became CALI’s lead attorney.

Before becoming a full time immigration lawyer Atkinson was working in finance and volunteering and interning part time in immigration law. She interned at the International Rescue Committee and the Office of Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.

It was learning about human trafficking and international human rights that led to her interest in immigration law. While interning at non-profits, she learned about U-Visas, which are specifically for victims of human trafficking and other crimes. She found immigration law to be rewarding and personal. “You kind of get involved in someone’s entire family and their life history, in their story in a way that other areas of the law is not.” Originally, Atkinson wanted to be a tax accountant.

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Find Milli Atkinson on LinkedIn.

The Topic of Immigration in the first week of October 2013

From Undocumented to DACAmented

From Undocumented to DACAmented from Natalie Rodriguez on Vimeo.

Mario Espinoza, twenty five, arrived in the United States with his mother and older siblings from Guatemala City after crossing the US/Mexico border with what he was told was a little girl’s visa at the approximate age of three. Being undocumented made him realize that he would not have the same educational or employment opportunities as his peers while he was in high school. As a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Espinoza explains how DACA has not completely changed his life.

How Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Can Affect Children in Oakland

Drive By Shooting Victim Talks About His Experience from Natalie Rodriguez on Vimeo.

Children in Oakland, Calif., may suffer symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, as a result of the violence that they are exposed to. Paul Rodriguez who is currently a senior at the California State University, East Bay, was the victim of a drive by shooting in 2007 while he waited for the bus outside of Castlemont High School where he was a senior at the time. Suzanne Dove, School Counselor at Saint Elizabeth Elementary School in Oakland, and licensed marriage and family therapist, says that despite the fact that not all victims of trauma develop PTSD, even infants can show signs of the disorder.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a type of anxiety disorder that can occur after people have been exposed to a traumatic event including exposure to community violence. According to the National Center for PTSD, a national study amongst children under the age of 18, more than one in four reported having witnessed domestic or community violence.

In July 2013, Oakland city council man Noel Gallo, called for a state of emergency in the city after 8-year-old Alaysha Carradine, was shot to death while attending a sleep over. Since the publication of a 2008 article in the Oakland Tribune titled “Violence in Oakland creates symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder,” more than 20 minors have lost their lives victims of violence in Oakland. According to the San Jose Mercury News, since 2011, five children under the age of ten have been killed. Today, Sunday, August 25, 2013 there were two shootings that took place within minutes of each other in the city of Oakland, Calif., in which two children were amongst the victims.

Rodriguez who survived a drive by as a child says, “I don’t think they meant to kill the kids and they accidentally shot the kids, and I don’t think they feel bad about it either.” Rodriguez believes that those committing the crimes seek respect and property by any means necessary.

In this interview, Dove explains that the Federal Government recognizes that children in urban communities that are exposed to crime are at risk for developing PTSD.