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"Give me your tired, your poor, 
your huddled masses."

Jonathan Del Arco is an actor and activist.

If you’re anything like me, you’re sick and tired of the political posturing and gamesmanship in Congress. But it doesn't have to be that way. Just weeks ago, Republicans and Democrats united to reopen the government and prevent the country from defaulting. And earlier this summer, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate united to pass comprehensive immigration reform—something that now has support in both parties in the House of Representatives as well.

As a member of the Latino community, immigration is incredibly important to me. I was 10 years old when my father brought us to America legally. Our green cards said “Resident Alien” on it. I wasn’t sure what that meant exactly, but I know it made me feel like I was not one of “them.”

My dad waited a long time to get his papers before leaving Uruguay. I didn't understand why someone would want to skip the line and come to America illegally, but when I moved to California, I saw with my own eyes the tremendous contribution the undocumented community was making in this state and across the country.

These people are a part of our communities, although they're stuck living in constant uncertainty. And their children—who have grown up as American as anyone—hit roadblocks in our system, despite their brilliant minds and college degrees, simply because they lack certain documents. This is wrong.

There are more than 12 million undocumented people who deserve to have a path to earned citizenship. These people just want to work and feed their children and succeed in the way that millions of other immigrants did when we formed this country.

As we leave the shutdown of 2013 in our rearview mirrors and get ready for what's next, let's not forget the words so beautifully etched on the Statue of Liberty—and let's make sure we live up to them:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"—Poet Emma Lazarus

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