Harry Potter would support immigration reform

You all know that I’m a big Harry Potter nerd – and I know that there are a lot of Feministing readers who secretly still hope that an owl bearing an acceptance letter to Hogwarts will arrive at their breakfast table every July. So, it’s no surprise that I love this video by Julian, a young undocumented American and Harry Potter fan. Julian wants to go to LeakyCon, an annual conference for Harry Potter fans, but he can’t go this year because he doesn’t have the required documentation to get a flight or a train to Chicago.

He wisely makes the analogy between racial discrimination in our world and anti-Muggleborn discrimination in the Magical world, and concludes that Harry Potter, who opposes anti-Muggle discrimination, would be in favour of reforming our immigration system to make it fairer and more humane.

Transcript below the jump.Hi, I’m Julian. Last year I went to an amazing Harry Potter conference called LeakyCon. I met friends that I’ve had online for years but never met in person. Celebrating the power of a story to bring people together to do great things was one of the greatest experiences of my life as a Harry Potter fan. So of course I was very excited to hear that they were doing it again in 2012. In 2011, it was hosted in Orlando Florida, a driving distance of only four hours from here in Miami. This year, it’s going to be in Chicago. So you’re thinking, “OK, so you have to take a plane this time, no big deal.” Well, that brings me to the title of this video: why I can’t go to LeakyCon. There’s a longer story behind this, but the simple truth is that I’m an undocumented American. This means that, legally speaking, I’m neither a resident nor a citizen of the United States, even though America has been my home for eighteen years. I was born in Rosario Argentina in September of 1992. My parents had a successful clothing store, but they started having financial problems and had to sell it after it was robbed. My parents decided that if they were going to start fresh, they were better off doing it in the United States, where their kids had a better chance at a good education and a safer life. So we moved to Miami, and my dad started his company, and I started pre-K. I graduated summa cum laude from Miami Park Senior High School, and now I’m a sophomore in the Honors Program at Miami Dade College. Getting accepted into the Honors Program means that your tuition is covered, which is awesome, unless you have out of state status like me, even though I do live in state in a house that my parents own and pay taxes for. My college’s president even agrees that this shouldn’t be happening. I can’t take out student loans, can’t get a job, can’t get an ID that would let me fly or take a train. And I don’t know anyone with a flying car. Which is precisely why I can’t go to LeakyCon next week. There are millions of aspiring citizens in the United States in my situation, and in fact many of them have it a lot worse than me, with no hope of achieving legal status. The problem is, there’s currently no common sense immigration process available to us. I am so glad to be a part of the Harry Potter fandom, because what a perfect story to parallel this injustice. If Voldemort had his way, those wizards born to Muggle parents would be stripped of the right to work, to education, and the practice of magic, of course. Harry Potter would support immigration reform. I define American as a seeker of freedom, an advocate for justice, and one who contributes his talents and hard work to America. Harry Potter would agree that I am an American.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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