Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Recently I have been disheartened, and, on occasion, disgusted, with how politicians have handled the issue of immigration. It appears that the lives, welfare, future, and dignity of immigrants have become a flippant matter of winning constituent votes, and playing political games on Capitol Hill. These actions on behalf of politicians concern me because immigration legislation is not a simple matter of X number of visas, and Y number of permits, and Z number of deportations. This legislation concerns real people, real lives, real jobs, and real sacrifices. In order to please the masses the legislation has oversimplified this very complex issue. As someone who works daily with both documented and undocumented immigrants, I have heard and come to understand the circumstances and experiences that necessitate immigration, either legally or illegally. I have learned more about poverty, the unjust consequences of NAFTA, abusive political structures, the lure of “The American Dream”, and much more. I have come to identify the wants and needs of immigrants with the aspirations, hopes, and dreams I recognize in myself and for my own family—those of health, education, livable conditions, and a future for the next generation. As legislation continues to be negotiated and amended, I urge you to recognize the complexities and various layers that play a role in immigration; I urge you to hear the stories of those directly affected by the decisions you make regarding this legislation; and I urge you to address this issue both for the long term and for more than political pandering.