Why this immigrant reporter didn't stay home for #DayWithoutImmigrants - Technical.ly Philly

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Feb. 16, 2017 12:58 pm

Why this immigrant reporter didn’t stay home for #DayWithoutImmigrants

A nation-wide effort called for immigrants to stay home today. Here's why I chose not to.

My flag.

(Photo by Flickr user Cristóbal Alvarado Minic, used via a Creative Commons license)

I was watching three drones pilot themselves last night when I got a text from my boss with a proposal.

The pitch was simple enough: What if, in honor of #DayWithoutImmigrants (the nation-wide call for an immigrant strike today to protest recent immigration policies), we at Technical.ly held off on stories with my byline and instead ran a single item in support of immigrants?

My initial response was to say that maybe it would be better to use the platform to highlight immigrant-founded startups like this profile on Keriton I already had in the works. But before we could finish hashing out the convo and come to a conclusion, my phone died.

(Full disclosure: Both Technical.ly Editorial Director Christopher Wink and my interim editor Tony Abraham made it clear that this was ultimately my call.)

I started my trek home and, during the entire train ride, I kept going back and forth on the decision. Would I be thought of as a scab if I went about my day as if nothing had ever happened? Would holding back from filing stories come off as an out-of-line call for attention?

By the time I got home and plugged in my phone, I knew what the right decision was. I left Venezuela in 2015 so I could raise my voice freely for what I believe is right. So, in a day devoted to highlighting the importance of immigrants in America, my job is as important as it’s ever been.

That’s partly why you’ve seen this site keep such a close watch on immigrant founders, their efforts to protest and the tech community’s response to anti-immigrant rhetoric. That’s why local startups tackling immigration through technology (like Borderwise) have my attention.

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That’s also why today (and for the foreseeable future) I’ll remain here at my desk, listening to Venezuelan music, happily writing about you, Philly tech.

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Roberto Torres

Roberto Torres became Technical.ly Lead Philly Reporter in May 2016. Prior, he was a freelance contributor to Technical.ly and Al Dia News. The native Venezuelan moved to Philadelphia in 2015 after reporting on research at his alma mater, the University of Zulia. Whenever he's not fencing deadlines, he can be found standing in line at Overbrook Pizza in West Philly, running Netflix/Hulu marathons with his wife or reading news from Venezuela.

  • Sandra Smith

    And that’s why your readers happily follow you! Thanks for keeping us informed on an issue that’s of critical importance.

  • wscottmoyer

    Roberto –Welcome to Phila. I’m sorry to hear what’s been happening in your home country recently. Just so you and everyone at Technical.ly Philly understand, no one is against immigration. It’s what made the USA great. Also what continues to make the USA great is not immigration chaos but immigration sanity (legal immigration). What’s happening right now (under Trump) with immigration is to get criminals out of the country and to try to keep terrorists from coming in — not a Muslim Ban but rather a terrorist ban as more than 1 billion Muslims are still welcome to come here. Hopefully this will help you keep both sides of the argument in balance. Thanks.

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