Jennifer Long

As Interviewed by Nathan Mangibin, March 8, 2015

Jennifer Long: In Her Own Words

Casa Marianella started in 1986, when a man bought us our first house after he had gone to El Salvador. He wanted us to help people who were fleeing from war to have a place to stay. Most of the people at Casa Marianella are from Africa, but we have had people from over 30 countries in the past year. The majority of them are leaving their countries where they canít live, for one reason or another. Theyíre being persecuted for their race, religion, or by their tribe or their sexual orientation, although some people are coming here because they canít survive economically in their home country. Here at Casa Marianella we provides the immigrants a place to live, food, English classes, case management, legal services, and acupuncture and an herbal medicine clinic.

I believe that immigration has been good for the United States and good for the United Stateís economy, but immigration is bad for the immigrants because itís always a terrible thing for people to leave their country and family because they feel that they have to. The reason we have so many undocumented immigrants is that a lot of people are profiting of that. I think that what President Obama is suggesting is actually a really good idea. Heís saying, come get documented, weíll give you three years of work permit.

Everyone should pay taxes and itís a great point you make there that immigrants do pay taxes. The average American thinks that immigrants are just coming and taking things from this country and not giving anything back. In reality, most immigrants are working low-paying jobs and paying taxes -- and paying in more than theyíre getting back.

I think that every country has nationalism, and I think every country in the world treats their neighboring country unkindly. And Americans, we are not very well educated on whatís happening at other parts of the world -- but there are people immigrating to every country. Most of us donít think about the fact that Sudan has immigrants, and we think about it as a terrible country. Every country has people who want to blame those immigrants for their problems and make up ugly things like they carry disease and that theyíre criminals when thatís ridiculous. We should treat everyone with justice, and everyone humanely, and everyone the way we would want to be treated if we had to flee our country and go to another country.