Standing up or sitting down

I was inspired to pick up the pen (well, type) and write another blog post by my good friend, Kimberly McGuire at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. Last week, she and dozens of other brave women – young, old, black, white, Latina, mothers, sisters, daughters – stood up by sitting down.

I wanted to highlight this video, and this protest, for a few reasons. One, because it’s a group entirely comprised of women fighting for justice in immigration – as the video notes, the majority of those affected by immigration laws are women and their children. Two, because despite the promise of immigration reform from both the President and from Congress, we have made little progress towards a comprehensive plan for immigrants in this country.

It’s true, we have made some steps forward recently. The United States deferred the deportation of thousands of immigrants who were brought here as children (under 16) illegally , allowing them to stay in the United States. This is a huge step forward – these young men and women have done nothing wrong, they simply followed their parents to another country for a better life. But this step forward also creates problems. The children are allowed to stay, but their parents are not. Our policy is still splitting families apart.

If they don’t face separation from their families and friends, they face challenges in access to work, to health care, to security and to integration into society here. And unfortunately, they face a lack of urgency in government to work towards a common sense plan for immigration.

I think that part of the hesitation in proposing a practical plan for immigration reform, is the view that illegal immigration is a problem. Congressman Rush Holt put it best in his recent Geek Out! event when he said that immigration should not be framed as a problem, but instead as an opportunity for economic growth and cultural enrichment.

The other part of the problem is a lack of enthusiasm by Congress to propose a plan because it’s too controversial for an election year.

That is a crap excuse. It will always be an election year. The concern shouldn’t be with keeping a job. The concern our government should have, is for the people that elected them, and the country they work for, and the problems in that country that need practical solutions to issues like this.

This month marks the 41st time that conservatives in Congress have tried to repeal Obamacare. Forty one. It’s an exercise in futility if I’ve ever seen one, and a complete and utter waste of everyone’s time and tax dollars. Instead of going through this pointless song and dance again, why are we not putting our energy towards a common sense and comprehensive immigration plan?

We have average citizens (and non-citizens) who are more passionate about this reform than Washington is. There are thousands demanding action on this subject and we have yet to see significant action because politicians are too afraid to risk such a controversial vote before an election year. Why is it that men and women like Kimberly, and the women who sat with her, are willing to risk arrest to see change made, but those in the halls of Congress stay silent?

4 replies »

  1. “…because it’s a group entirely comprised of women fighting for justice in immigration – as the video notes, the majority of those affected by immigration laws are women and their children. ”

    Its very sad that these women CHOOSE to come to our country illegally, CHOOSE to have children that they can neither afford nor care for, then act as if we owe it to them to do something about the bad situation that they have created. Even worse are the “average citizens” who attempt to force the rest of us to take responsibility for these peoples CHOICES. Good God, what is happening to this poor country. Shameful.

  2. We’re enjoying the wage taxes that most of these people are paying into the system with zero benefit for themselves, We enjoy having the concrete poured, structures built, lawns mowed, houses cleaned, let alone the doctors, lawyers, professors and other professionals.

    The Latinos are here, it’s not hypothetical, the camel is in the tent. We can moan and bitch and cry or we can man up, accept reality as it’s been handed to us and do the right thing and welcome those that are already part of our society _into_ our society. What we do to secure our borders IF we can secure our borders is a separate issue.

    The nicer we treat them now, the nicer they’ll treat us when they become the majority, which looking at birth replacement rates will be in a generation or two. It doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to see the future and it definitely has a whole pile of Tex-Mex and Mariachi music woven into it.

    Good blog Alex, it makes people think about their racism. We’re all racists, it’s genetically coded into our being, but we don’t have to _be_ racist if we can let empathy guide our actions.

    …and if we don’t have empathy then we’re just beasts acting on base instincts and deserve every mean cruel thing that we serve onto ourselves..

  3. I think you need to do your homework, my friend. From the start your logic is flawed. If these “poor people” got nothing from being here, then why do you suppose that they come in such numbers? Well the short answer is that we educate their children, pay their medical costs, provide many entitlement programs to them via their children; free breakfast, free lunch, free dinner, food stamps, public housing…. on and on to the tune of billions of dollars per year. Get zero benefit? Get your head out of the political clouds man. When you look at the state of our economy, and the very high unemployment rate, we would be far better off to not have illegals taking jobs that citizens, or those here legally, should have… but that is another discussion.

    As for securing the borders, there is no need. Simply eliminate the entitlement programs and enforce the immigration laws that we have on the books now and the illegals will self deport.

  4. We’ve blown a whale of a lot more on bullshit wars over the last 20 years than we have on freebies for crimmigrants Jim. I’m a realist, they’re here and we can’t change that. Absolutely there is a cost as well as a benefit to their existence in our midst.

    Net gain or loss? I’d say gain but I could certainly be wrong, I often am. Nonetheless they are human beings, many of them children, and healthy well fed students make much more productive citizens than disenfranchised gangboys.

    Your answer and solution to the problem is to starve them out, deny medical treatment and education? And then magically they’ll all slowly gravitate to the border and disappear? Perhaps my head is in the clouds but I know Latinos and friend, besides being hard working fun loving people, they’re here to stay.

    We’re not going to run them off and they are going to become the majority and if we don’t get our righty tighty whitey heads wrapped around those facts we are going to be sorely disappointed in the changing landscape of America. You did notice they swung the 2012 presidential elections didn’t you?

    Me, I’m just trying to learn to hablo un poco de espanol and continue to espouse the ideal that there’s room in this country for anyone that’s willing to work hard and make a place for themselves.