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Opinion: Economy and immigration linked to American dream
February 13th, 2013
05:58 PM ET

Opinion: Economy and immigration linked to American dream

Editor's Note: Sayu Bhojwani is the former commissioner of immigrant affairs for New York City and the founding director of The New American Leaders Project. She is also a Ph.D. candidate in politics and education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Born in India and raised in Belize, she is a naturalized citizen of the United States.

By Sayu Bhojwani, Special to CNN

(CNN) –  President Obama’s State of the Union speech spoke to a changing America: one that is 37% minority, one with the most diverse Congress in history and one that Sen. Marco Rubio’s parents immigrated to.

Tuesday night, the president focused on the No. 1 issue for all voters in 2012: the economy.

By addressing the middle class, he put the “American dream” at center stage, a goal that has become increasingly harder to achieve for many families.

It is a dream that Rubio, R-Florida, described in his rebuttal. As a child of immigrant parents who “made it to the middle class,” he inherited “the real opportunity to accomplish (his) dreams."

Although Rubio argued against much of what the president proposed, both agree on three goals: strengthening the middle class, uplifting immigrant contributions and keeping the American dream accessible.

They also agree that to fix our economy, our immigration system needs to be fixed. FULL POST

Opinion: Democrats and Republicans need a plan to keep American dream alive
September 6th, 2012
09:39 PM ET

Opinion: Democrats and Republicans need a plan to keep American dream alive

Editor's Note: Sayu Bhojwani is the former commissioner of immigrant affairs for New York City and the founding director of The New American Leaders Project. She is also a Ph.D. candidate in politics and education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Born in India, and raised in Belize, she is a naturalized citizen of the United States.

(CNN) - Something is strikingly similar about both conventions - a strong, underlying narrative that seeks to personally connect the speakers to viewers.

On the stage in Tampa, Florida, and Charlotte, North Carolina, we’re hearing many American stories, rooted in the values that all Americans respect - hard work, individualism, family, community.

American voters want to know the person they’re entrusting with the important business of running our country, and the convention speakers are trying to offer us perspectives on who they are by sharing key details of their biographies.

At the Republican National Convention, Condoleezza Rice shared her parents' hope that, though she could not sit at a Woolworth lunch counter as a child, she could be anything she wanted to be as an adult. Marco Rubio was influenced by his grandfather's understanding that his grandson had no limit because he was an American.

At the Democratic National Convention,  Julian Castro told how his mother's work enabled him to now hold a microphone, rather than a mop.  Michelle Obama shared how her father's hard work, despite having multiple sclerosis, was rooted in his desire to build a better life for his kids.

FULL POST