Thursday, July 23, 2009

Forget compassion- let's take the easy road.

Story Time: The Little Train vs Pride and Prejudice

The other day my little girl was reading a story book about the little train that could. I know; you heard the story a million times before- the train that was too small to make it over the mountain carrying toys and food for needy children on the other side. Only through individual determination was the train able to get over the hill.

This time, while she read, I starting thinking about all the other trains that came by first. The prideful train, the powerful train, the gold train, and they all said the same thing: "I won't pull the likes of you". My daughter asked me what that meant. I had to think about it for a while because I never paid attention before to this story. This time, however, I starting thinking about racism and prejuduce and insensitivity. I was thinking about powerful people in the government and private sectors- they don't really care much about people's suffering. The little train story really is a showcase of how important the actions of humble everyday people, with limited resources, working outside their comfort zone, can be to helping those reaching out.

You see, without this group of people, who is going to stand up for the underprivileged, the needy, those suffering from repression? This country has plenty of people with serious problems. Government does what it can, wealthy private individuals and corporations do even less, but when its time to passing a new immigrant favorable reform- you got it; its up to us to help. We become the train that gets over the mountain. That's not such a bad place to end up is it? After all, we were all created to do good works.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Living the American Dream? Impossible for Some.

Can you imagine waking up in a strange land? A place where you are not wanted? But, you have to survive somehow- you have to provide for your family. You have to learn the currency, the ways of finding employment. How do you cash your check, or pay your bills? You have no social security security number, no legal right to work, in fact you don't even have a drivers' license- and the car you drive is owned by a friend from your country and his car is not even registered? You live in a house where you pay too much for rent, share the house with other families, and you live day by day never knowing when you will get caught up in an immigration raid by ICE (immigration and customs enforcment) officers. That's scary to me. The American Dream? What's that!

Hope for the Hopeless?

Still this is how so ,many people living illegally live each day in the United States. This is nothing to be proud of as an American that's for sure. For example when I go to Home Depot, I know what's happening- these men waiting around are looking for jobs. They don't have any legal papers at all. They have nothing with them except a need to survive. The recession hasn't helped things much for them. They usually go home as they came; without a job, without hope, without a paycheck. Boy, do they have a lot of guts to be standing around in open where ICE raids are common place. Frankly, I could'nt do it- I'm way too scared. Most Americans have no idea what living a life such as this would be like. Day after day living in fear- and in of all places the United States. Sadly, for now, this is the result of many mistakes made in our legal policy arena.. You can measure the results- lots of pain for lots of people.

I know that there are many Americans that are really angry with immigrants- I think they actually hate them as a group. Many say they have robbed the state coffers, caused citizens to pay more for benefits and federal, state and local taxes to name a few. They believe that much of their financial stress and strain is due to immigration infiltration- especially in California. Although, I must admit I was paying a lot for taxes and medical insurance even 25 years ago. I don't remember the immigration problem being so large then as it is today.

Today, there are probably close to 10 million illegal immigrants living in the United States if not more. We have to do something. The question is; are we going to be really mad when we put together a new immigration reform measure? Are we Americans going to get even with "those people that have ruined it for us" or are we going to act compassionately? Is reform even possible? Are we just going to "crack down" on illegal immigration in the harshest way possible?

What is Illegal Immigration?

I don't think there is "illegal immigration"- only people who are living in the United States without proper legal documentation. Am I just mixing words? I don't think so. You know this is a great country. Here is a fact, I'm sure of it: Americans can find a way to create the necessary laws to protect all of us within our borders. We are very resourcesful- we can do just about anything. In fact, I think we can do anything. Just look at what we have done in the aerospace industry. Soon, we can travel to space as paying passengers- very soon. The technology already exists. I can't imagine looking down on the earth from my spaceship window wondering "I hope that new immigration reform measure passes". That would be sad.

Common sense will take us a long way. Acting calmly and without a lot of negative emotion will allow us to come up with a good workable solution. In the end, illegal immigration is about men, women, and children that would like a chance to live the American Dream. As an American, I vote that we give them that chance.