First, my encouragement for you to take political action: S774 (Senate Bill) a.k.a. "The Dream Act" has been resubmitted to Congress for approval. This is a bill that allows undocumented youth (who entered the US before age 14) to go to college. The age limit is there because it presupposes that these youth were subject to their parents' will rather than their own and that as a result they have gone through the public school system and done well. Having graduated high school with a clean record (criminals are not afforded the privilege under this bill) these youth are granted legal residency status so that they might attend college. I advocate for this bill for a number of reasons: 1) these youth (as do ALL youth) deserve an education 2) barring these advances these immigrants are forced to remain in the American underclass (a fate no one should be subjected to) 3) They have done well in public education, demonstrating an ability to do well in higher education as well. If you are willing to advocate, please write your senator urging them to vote yes for S774 (to find an email address for your senator go to: www.senate.gov)
Second, my rant. A year after having written to the "beloved" (cough, cough) senator of Georgia--Johnny Isaakson, I received this gag-worthy email:
On February 20, 2007, I had the opportunity to travel with Secretary
of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff to the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona ,
where I was proud to help weld a section of the double-barrier fence that is
being constructed along the border. My one-day visit there convinced me more
than ever that we can - and we must - secure our border first before we grant
legal status to anyone who has come to our country illegally.
Quite frankly I could go on for hours about immigration and the issues related to it. There are so many misperceptions and a surplus of misinformation that it is sometimes difficult to know where I should begin. In response to this wonder of a representative, I will say that the fence is NOT the appropriate answer to the issue of illegal immigration. Those who do humanitarian aid on the border have shown that the fences do little to actually deter those who cross and actually serve to increase the number of (often heat related) deaths. A few years ago a fencing project was titled "operation deterrant". The basic premise was that people WOULD die as they had to go further into the desert to cross and that would serve to deter others from crossing. The action proved both right and wrong. Right: people DO die in the desert as they cross (For a vivid and true account of this read: "The Devil's Highway" by Luis Urrea). Wrong: most have not been deterred by the deaths. Why? Well, when the need to cross is so profound that many spend almost two years of wages, stake their lives and the well-being of their families by allying with coyotes, and spend days in deadly heat--the prospect of death is already present, they are not deterred.
The perpetuation of false information and fear based propoganda really gets me going. I will stop for now as I am off to a Bible study, but will probably post more related to this information in the coming days. I realize not all of you are on the same page as me on this issue, please bear with me and know that I have not always believed the way I did. Going into college I held a staunchy "right" position regarding immigration--it took a couple years of God unhardening my heart before I came to the place where I am.