MAGIC VALLEY — The ACLU of Idaho is encouraging people throughout the state to send them handmade paper butterflies to show support and encourage Congress to pass the Citizenship Act of 2021.
“Butterflies have been a symbol for our immigrant community because they have been a symbol of perseverance. Butterflies migrate thousands of miles and that has just been a symbol that our migrant community has used for so much because of their hard work and ethic," Rosseli Guerrero, Advocacy fellow for ACLU of Idaho, said.
The organization plans to collect more than 500 paper butterflies and travel to Washington D.C. to lay them out in front of congress in a nationwide initiative to show support for immigration reform.
“They’re also our business owners, our nurses. So why not? Why not have that pathway to citizenship and that relief to our undocumented community to succeed in this country that they already have been so vital to make our nation survive during the pandemic but also not just now but in general,” Guerrero said.
The butterflies will include stories about why immigration reform is important to Idahoans and how it will affect their families. Each butterfly will represent support for the Citizenship Act of 2021.
The ACLU of Idaho also led a similar project last year where they collected paper butterflies from Idahoans with notes about why DACA is important to them. They went around downtown Boise and posted them on the windows of local businesses to show support for DACA.
“So a lot of the responses have been how immigrants make this nation run, how immigrants have been essential to our country, and how immigrants have built this country up right?" Guerrero said.
Being a DACA student herself, Guerrero says this project is important to her.
“DACA has been under attack so many times, I don’t want to go through that. I don’t want to feel like any day that’s going to be taken away. I’m a college student. I want to be able to pursue a career in the degree I’m working on and if I don’t have a work permit I won’t be able to do that," Guerrero said.
Just last week, Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson helped pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, a bill that will help create a visa program for undocumented farmworkers.
The bill was originally introduced and passed in the U.S. house of Representatives in 2019. But this time around the bill will give dairy workers a chance to get a visa since the current H-2A program only includes seasonal farmworkers.
“It’s obvious that we have a broken immigration system right now, policies change, and so forth. If you look at immigration in general, what you see, what’s happening at the border right now is obviously broken and we need to fix that," Simpson said.
The butterfly migration project aims to collect butterflies from all 50 states. So far butterflies from 16 states have been collected.
If you are interested in getting involved in the butterfly migration project, you can visit the ACLU of Idaho's website for more information.
“This is a really fun and educational, but also really important project for me, and for my community as well," Guerrero said.