The first time you log onto the website, your eyes immediately lock with the penetrating gaze of an undocumented carpenter from New Orleans.
It's part of a new online photo gallery on TheExcluded.net, a website that is publishing the faces of the immigrants who are ineligible to apply for DAPA or DACA, President Obama's executive actions to shield an estimated 5 million undocumented adults and children from deportation. The Supreme Court is currently reviewing the legality of DAPA as well as an executive order to expand DACA. The ruling is expected later this month.
Win or lose, a ton of work remains to be done to fix the U.S.' broken immigration system.
“As much as we want the Supreme Court decision to go our way, this can’t be the end of the conversation,” said Tania Unzueta, policy director for the #Not1More campaign, which launched the website.
Even if the high court upholds both DAPA and DACA, millions of other people will still fall through the cracks, she said.
Many immigrants who would otherwise be eligible for deportation relief are banned from DACA and DAPA for having criminal records. But those people, who will also be included on TheExcluded.net, deserve advocacy too.
“We want to shift the conversation from fighting from the lowest hanging fruit, like DREAMers, who are the easiest group of immigrants for people to get on board and support," Unzueta told Fusion in a telephone interview. “Right now people are fighting for the people at the top, and we are saying we’re all the way at the bottom, and this is who we are fighting for.”
For comprehensive immigration reform to be truly comprehensive, it has to include everyone. And that's why it's important to humanize the problem of exclusion.
"These are the faces who would be left out," Unzueta said.
The website's photo collection, which is taken from immigrant rights groups across the country, will also include a feature that will allow visitors to upload their pictures and stories so that the gallery can include as many of the excluded as possible.