Walk a Mile in the Shoes

Let me start off by saying I’m not a politician, nor do I like to debate political topics. But, this topic is something that is very important to not only the people that benefit from it, but also to the United States of America as a whole.

Here are two great examples of what I’m going to talk about:

1) After being stopped in March for impeding the flow of traffic on her college campus in suburban Atlanta, Jessica Colotl, a student enrolled at Kennesaw State University, failed to produce a driver’s license. She soon found herself arrested and transferred to an immigration detention center. A native of Mexico, Colotl came to the United States with her parents at age 10 and graduated from a Georgia high school.

2) Harvard sophomore Eric Balderas, 19, does not remember Mexico, but he may be deported there anyway. Balderas was only 4 years old when he became an illegal immigrant. But his youth proved no defense when immigration officials arrested the biology major at the San Antonio airport after he tried to board a plane back to Boston. Balderas was on his way back to Harvard last week after a visit to his mother in San Antonio, where he grew up. But sometime during the visit, Balderas lost his Mexican passport and had hoped to board the plane with a consulate card and his student ID.

Every year, over 65,000 undocumented students graduate from a United States High School. Almost every single one of those undocumented students are then rejected a college education because they can’t receive student loans, college grants, or any type of financial aid due to their immigrant status.

Some of these students do the impossible and go a college or university, work as hard as they can because they know that every little penny they receive will go to pay their out-of-state tuition prices that they are charged.

Is it really fair that these bright students be rejected an opportunity to higher education that many other Americans are given? Is it fair that these young people are held accountable to their parents’ crimes and misdeeds?

For many of these students like Jessica and Eric, they have lived in the United States from an early age. The United States of America is the only home they have ever known. For them, they are Americans like you and I. They have loved this country; they celebrate the freedom it gives, and most of them love this country so much they are willing to go to war to defend it.

And that’s when they hit a roadblock yet again. Thanks to their illegal status, they are not allowed to serve in the United States military; they are not allowed to serve the country they love! As Senator Dick Durbin said, “undocumented young people in the United States that want to volunteer to serve in our military can’t do it. They are willing to risk their lives for America and we say NO”

If only there was a piece of legislation that could benefit all who are concerned…? Alas, the DREAM Act! The DREAM Act stands for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act. What is the DREAM Act you ask? The Dream Act is a piece of legislation that would give illegal alien- scratch that, I’m not going to use that word Alien they aren’t aliens, they are people! The Dream Act is a piece of legislation that would give illegal immigrants a shot at US citizenship.

As Senator Durbin said, “What I tried to do with the DREAM Act is to give these young people a chance. A chance to earn their way to legal status and become part of the only country they have ever known.” Make no mistake, the DREAM Act isn’t a freebie, “you have to earn your citizenship all the way through” says Senator Durbin.

There are four basic requirements for the DREAM Act:

1) You must have entered the United States before the age of 16

2) You must have graduated High School.

3) You must be in good moral character (no criminal record in any way)

4) You must have at least five years of continuous presence in the United States.

Once the person has met those criteria, they will have a six year period in which they must obtain a two-year college degree or complete two years of military service.

The DREAM Act isn’t a freebie piece of legislation that the democrats want to pass in order to get their Democratic agenda in place, no, the DREAM Act is completely up to the person. The person must apply for it, the person must meet all four basic requirements, the person must earn their two-year college degree, or serve in the United States military and upon completion, they will have four more years in which they can continue to go further with their education and once they meet the six year requirement, they can apply for permanent citizenship in the United States, the greatest honor one can receive.

For the illegal immigrants dreaming of getting this piece of legislation passed, they become just that, “dreamers”.

The stories of Jessica and Eric are only two of thousands upon thousands of stories just like it. There is a website that its sole purpose is to get these stories published, they have so many inspiring stories of students who are going through these dark times in their lives.

In summary, passing the DREAM Act would stop the punishment of young people who came to the United States of America illegally through no fault of their own. Many came here when they were still very young and have known no other place to call home. The DREAM Act will have a positive effect not only on the young people that would benefit from it but also to the United States of America as a whole.

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A Day Without A Mexican

To Begin, I’ll quote Martin Niemölle: “First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

“Why are you talking about Politics Pedro?” very valid question you might be asking. Well it’s simple really; I am truly appalled by the way Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona is doing things. The SB 1070 is by far the most ridiculous piece of legislation to ever pass in the United States. Now, if you want to start arguing about Illegal Immigrants, this is not the place to do it. Because Honestly, I think what Gov. Jan Brewer did is unethical and wrong.

For those of you who have been living under a rock, SB1070 is basically a law that says this in a nutshell: In the state of Arizona, Illegal Immigrants Hunt is now in session. Police can stop people and ask them for their legal documentation and if they don’t have it, they are deported. In Arizona it is now a state crime for illegal immigrants to not have an alien registration document, and requires police “to question people about their immigration status if there is reason, other than race, ethnicity or national origin, to suspect they are illegal immigrants” after they have been stopped, detained or arrested for another crime or suspicion of another crime. It also makes it illegal for people to hire illegal immigrants for day labor or to knowingly transport them.

Maybe you are telling me “hey now Pedro, there is nothing wrong with that!” Oh yeah? I also bet you are the person that thought it was okay to separate blacks and whites, put blacks in the back of the bus and gave them a different water fountain to drink from, a different school to go to, and counted them as three fifths of a person.

Now, back to SB1070. You know what this does? Well I’ll tell you… Racial Profiling. “Oh no Pedro, it clearly states in the bill they can only do that if [after they have been stopped, detained or arrested for another crime or suspicion of another crime.] Well, to me that’s bull. You are going to tell me that these police officers are not going to look at a Mexican driving and say to himself, “hey he’s a Mexican, I bet he’s illegal” and then go up to him and say that he was first charged with something silly like not having his lights on? If you think that can’t happen you are really naïve.

To the people that say illegal immigrant don’t pay taxes among other things, I think this will shut you up: “The IRS estimates that about 6 million unauthorized immigrants file individual income tax returns each year. Research reviewed by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office indicates that between 50 percent and 75 percent of unauthorized immigrants pay federal, state, and local taxes. Illegal immigrants are estimated to pay in about $7 billion per year into Social Security.” Furthermore, Illegal immigrants pay social security payroll taxes but are not eligible for benefits. Analysts at Standard & Poor’s estimated in April 2006 that the U.S. has over 12 million illegal immigrants, 55% from Mexico and 22% from other Latin American countries. Approximately two-thirds have been in the U.S. for 10 years or fewer. Recent statistics from the Pew Hispanic Research Center indicate that illegal immigrants account for about 4.9% of the civilian labor force, or 7.2 million workers out of a total U.S. labor force of 148 million

Wow, that’s deep huh? So, for people that say “Let’s deport all these damn illegal immigrants!” let me tell you something, how do you exactly plan on doing such a thing? You do understand there are over 12 MILLION of them right? What are you going to do? Send them on busses, airplanes, and ships? What would you do with the rest of them that are still going to be here? Put them in jail? Will all the jails fit them?

You see, the thing I don’t understand is all the commotion about someone being illegal. I don’t know if you know this, most of us are immigrants, no matter if you are a first generation, second, or sixth. You are an immigrant (unless you are a Native American). This law set by Arizona isn’t something that people should be proud of, this doesn’t make you an American just because you support this bill or not. This is a matter of humanity, a matter of people coming together to stop something worse from happening.

I think this law it’s completely wrong, why do hard working immigrants that are trying hard to get legalized and the government “loses their papers” or they just simply never look at it have to do with the problem?  They are just like you and me. They are people that left their countries to get a better education for themselves or their children. They have sacrificed so much and some of them are not even welcomed back in their countries. They are the hard working class of this great nation of ours that one day their children will grow up and become legalized citizens and have the wonderful opportunity to vote. But the way they are being treated right now makes them think twice. Why would an illegal teen love a country that hates him so much? How can someone truly hate illegal immigrants and want them gone? If they all leave, that’s over 12 Million people, you won’t have anyone to cook your food at restaurants, you won’t have tomatoes or any other type of fruit/vegetables, you won’t have a nice cut lawn, your lives would be so different. If you think I’m kidding, please watch the movie “A day without a Mexican” and you will truly understand what I mean.

If SB1070 and Jen Brewer are not stopped, who knows what can happen to other states across this great nation? Who knows, maybe in Utah, or Washington they will say illegal immigrants are no more and they will all become legal. What would you say to that? Would you exclude Utah and Washington as states in the United States?

One more thing, do them a favor and STOP calling them Illegal Allies.. They aren’t damn Aliens, they are HUMAN BEINGS just like you and I.

On a happy note that brought tears to my eyes, The Phoenix Suns will wear “Los Suns” on their jerseys for Cinco de Mayo. Phoenix owner Robert Sarver said that  “We will wear the jersey to honor our Latino community and the diversity of our league, and our nation.” Now, who said basketball is just a silly game that people play? This is more than game. The Suns are taking a stand against this Arizona Law, and this is one of the reasons as to why the Phoenix Suns are one of my favorite basketball teams.

Where are my sources you may ask? Here they are:

– http://www.businessweek.com/investor/content/apr2006/pi20060407_072803.htm

– http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/87xx/doc8711/12-6-Immigration.pdf

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/05/business/05immigration.html?_r=1&ex=1270353600&en=78c87ac4641dc383&ei=5090