Friday, October 31, 2008
Here's an undeniable example of the American spirit. Straight from the house of a kid who grew up, like me, in the States and wants to pass the DREAM Act so he can go do something with his life better than blogging. Or maybe make millions blogging. Being fabulous either way. Like this pumpkin we carved the other day.
This weekend I am off to Las Vegas and Henderson, NV to walk the precincts for Barack Obama. I will be blogging for PowerPAC and cross-posting what I see, hear, and experience on this blog as well. I have MAKE HISTORY marked in my calendar.
What is taking place in Georgia and in other states is another example--aside from the obvious corruption and attempt to suppress minority votes--of the damage that the anti-immigrant forces have caused upon the psyche of Americans and the perception of Latinos in the US.
It is time to remind these racist, corrupt politicians that we are Americans. Somos Americanos. And we will not be disenfranchised and made powerless. We will not quit until the our sweat and hard work, our important contributions and talents, our family values and cultural traditions are recognized as "American-as-apple-pie."
Take a look at an analysis of the mass media's role in perpetuating such ridiculous arguments and stereotypes that create hatred and fear:
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
As undocumented students, the question of how American we are is constantly at the forefront even though we've been educated in American schools as young children, speak English, watch American TV and even try to be as politically active as we possibly can without crossing legal boundaries that deny us political agency. Registering citizens to vote or phone banking for Barack Obama is nothing new for those of us who are so aware of our lack of rights from those who take their rights for granted.
Here's a great article in the SF News "American by Choice." The writer, Jeff Yang discusses the contradictions present in the presidential election about how the Republicans are measuring Americanness, and thus in fact judging all of us. He also interestingly asks which Americans are more dedicated--those born here by chance and accident, or those who leave all they know, learn another culture and go through the legalization process which is emotionally, physically and financially draining to gain a piece of paper that will give them citizenship? While he leaves out of his discussion of Americanness in regards to undocumented immigrants, I'm confident that he'd agree that those who are working hard to create a path to citizenship for themselves while being even more rejected than documented non-citizens, should be lauded at its highest level.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
In Arkansas, the chancellor of the University of Arkansas is advocating for 25 undergraduate Razorbacks who can pave the way for a state that promotes education of people of all levels. What can the school do? Offer in-state tuition. This might be an uphill battle for a state where advocacy for immigrant rights is not a strong as it is in other states. But passing a out-of-state tuition exemption is not impossible, specially if we are guided by this survey, which indicates that around 60% of Arkansans favor a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
In New Mexico, the Daily Lobo, student newspaper for the University of New Mexico, reports on the push by student groups and faculty members to pressure the Hispanic Scholarship Fund to open its scholarship programs to undocumented students. By the looks of it, it may be easier to start the movement somewhere else:
from HSF)said providing scholarships to undocumented students would not only take resources away from Hispanic-American citizens but could also be a breach of federal immigration policy.
So, there you have it, the largest scholarship fund for Hispanic/Latino students in the US and their spokesperson, Mitt Romney... I mean, some dude named Chapa!
Well, let us know educate Mitt Chapa about what pays for his salary, as well as those scholarships he denies undocumented students with such gusto. From
Where does funding for the HSF scholarships come from?
Funding comes from a variety of sources. The majority of our funds come from corporations and foundations that have an interest in the higher education of Latinos. Some of our funds also come from individual giving. HSF does not receive public funds.
No public funding, eh? That means that you set your own guidelines. As much as I disagree with HSF's stance, it's their money and they can choose what to do with it. But even I know that opening their scholarships would not be a "violation of federal immigration policy". You don't think we should get the aid? That's ok. At least the minutemen say it to our faces, HSF.
Thanks everyone for reading this blog.
The Underground Undergrads publication team visited Libreria Martinez in Lynwood this week, spreading the word about the recent student publication and promoting the Fast For Our Future campaign. UCLA Professor of World Arts and Cultures Janna Shadduck-Hernandez was present, as well as Ernesto Rocha, pictured above, who has been fasting with the Dreamers in Placita Olvera during the weekends.
Earlier this year, he told his story to the Daily Bruin:
Our reality is that everyday, this will affect us until something is changed. So until that happens, there is no reason for me to stop.
We are not stopping either!In fact, we are just getting started, as we welcome our two newest bloggers who posted for the first time yesterday. Welcome Julita and Oscar!
This week, the Book Tour stops at UC San Diego, where Migrant Rights Awareness will host us tomorrow, Wednesday October 29th, at 7PM in the Huerta-Veracruz Room in the Old Student Center. If you are in the San Diego area, we hope to see you there. Come out and support Underground Undergrads!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Well, it is going somewhere I tell you, and so will many other DREAMers.
Until the US Government truly acknowledges that by not passing the DREAM Act, there is a high number of WASTED TALENT, the Migration Policy Institute published a Great Report on Brain Waste. This reports gives statistics on educated immigrants living in the United States currently performing unskilled jobs; that is, wasted talent.
In the meantime, a few words of encouragement from Jeff Duncan Andrade on the definite dozen: BE RELENTLESS, never, ever give up!
More on the definite dozen, a twelve step encouragement program from Duncan Andrade:
1. Be responsible (To yourself, to your family, to your community, to our world)
2. Be respected, be respectful (Respect yourself, Demand that others respect you. Respect others.)
3. Be honest (Leaders don't make excuses, they make improvements)
4. Be loyal (Stand alongside those who have the least)
To discipline your Revolutionary State of Mind:
5. Work (Everyday, everywhere)
6. Study (To study is a revolutionary duty)
7. Character over reputation (Character is who you are when no one else is looking. Reputation is who other people say you are)
8. Believe (Doubters never win, revolutionaries never doubt)
To build a successful revolution:
9. Be self-critical (No revolution is complete without a culture of self-improvement. There is no culture of self-improvement without a culture of self-reflection)
10. Acknowledge the knowledge (Teach and be teachable)
11. Build with allies, Influence the enemy (Execute the 5 phases: identify, analyze, plan, implement, evaluate)
12. Be relentless (Never, ever give up)
First, take a look at the activism led by the citizens of Rafael Lara Grajales, a little town in Mexico where Central Americans migrant are often harassed by police and kidnappers. In their hearts, they have solidarity for migrants anywhere:
For resident Mariana Solis, the town should serve as a model throughout Mexico and beyond. She said Americans who turn a blind eye to migrant abuse in the U.S. should take heed.
"We all have people in the U.S., and we don't want the same thing to happen to them," she said.
Hundreds of miles to the north, a group of students continue on their hunger strike in solidarity with the immigrant rights movement. Some are US citizens, some just hope to become citizens one day. But the struggle is the same:
"Just taking a few steps takes a lot of energy out of me, but the cause keeps me motivated. Families are being separated, communities are living in fear, and people need to acknowledge that immigrants make up a huge part of our community and have always been the scapegoat for everything,” Prado said. Thursday was his ninth day fasting.
If you have not signed the petition, please do so by visiting The Fast for Our Future
When will we finally realize that the complexity of an ever inter-connected world demands a new vision of national and global prosperity in the 21st Century? When will we see that a narrow (isolationist-military hegemony) world view, stuck-on-stupid policy decisions, and conservative socio-economic perspectives no longer serve us well?
Our world advancement has brought great benefits, but at the expense of thousands of lives, dreams, old, hopes, desires, women, men, children, etc, etc. The ramifications of shifting markets and labor demands have pushed and pulled populations across the globe and created stateless individuals, wars, victimized youth, enslaved peoples, and raped women and men. Let us begin to create a new vision of our world. Let us demand a true paradigm shift that will begin to address the issues of the 21st Century.
No human is alien, illegal, or foreign. We are brothers and sisters of this world.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act
towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as
race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of
(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.
(2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.
(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution.
(2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
It's come up again due to his campaign and recently a website was launched as a place to discuss McCain's racist comment.
Below, some bad-ass compelling words by a Bao Phi, a Vietnamese American spoken word artist.
DEAR SENATOR McCAIN
By Bao Phi
Dear Senator McCain
I write this letter on jungle leaves
and the skin of a white man.
I am a gook, a jungle spook,
a steamed apparition
of piss and foot rot
building torture devices from old rotary phones
and the rusted hulks of American cars
I am that gook, when you turn on the light
I scramble away and if you see me
you know there's ten more
where I came from
catching tracer bullets like fireflies
in my teeth
my language like malaria
sweating itself into your brain
I am a gook, riding on top of water buffaloes,
waving welfare checks like a white flag of surrender
but shot in the back by your finest when they thought
I was standing in a martial arts stance
I am a gook, miscellaneous bomb bait,
agent orange evolved primate
creeping thru cashmoney colored jungles
and masturbating neon onto Wall Street
slit eyes fixed on white women
fingers like 10 long drips of grease
I am that villain in a white lab coat
trading bomb secrets for red cash
stashing code in surgery folded eyelids
I am gook, no speak no Engleesh
too much headache, tell me go back to my country,
motherfuck you eh?
I am indeed a gook, polished gold yellow
at Yale, driving my Ferrari horse-powered dick
deep into your spread-legged streets
while Miss America screams out an orgasmic "There goes the neighborhood!"
I am gook
that gook waiting in that nightmare jungle
that gook in front of you with 17 items in the 10 items or less lane at the supermarket
that gook born with a grenade in his head
that gook that got a better grade in your shop class
that gook uppity enuf to stand with his brothers and sisters and demand an apology
that gook who patted you on the back and said "That's okay--I hate gooks too."
I am that gook who stole your bomb secrets,
that gook that held you hostage,
that gook whose culture your daughter robbed for her tattoos, trinkets and t-shirts
that gook whose language your son attempts to speak so he can crack some nookie
from the fortune cookie
I am the gook who blazed you
the gook who saved you
I am gook, chink, slope, slanteye, victor, charlie, chan, suzie wong, dickless rice picker, model minority, binder of feet, your favorite sushi waitress, piss colored devil, nip, jap, snow falling on cedars, miss saigon, memoir of a geisha, joy luck club, ally mcbeal,
I am gook,
I ate your motherfuckin cat
I am that gook who will hang himself on Nike shoelaces
so your sons and daughters can play pickup or NCdoubleA final four,
I am that 14 cents an hour gook whose ghosts paint those Gap commercials white,
I am that gook that took over your pool hall and your roller skating rink,
I am this gook, I am that gook, I am your gook, I am my gook
I am that gook, popping out of a motherfuckin bowl of rice
what's the difference
between an Asian
and a gook
Simon Tran in France has created some Obama shirts with "yes, we can" in a bunch of different languages.
Check it out: "Yes, we can" around the world
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Regardless of that, I sometimes wish I had lived the life of a rapper. Is that what is needed in the Dream Act student movement? Since Pelosi said that a path to citizenship is not really on the table for us, maybe what we need is an artistic outlet, someone to complain to the general public when we know that whatever the government is giving us will not be enough for what our communities need. Lil Wayne, with help from Robin Thicke, did it for the poor folks in New Orleans, with this song:
If Daddy Yankee had not endorsed McCain, maybe I would feel more at ease with the power of our urban hip-hop voice to demand change, and fight for recognition. Alas, we don't seem to have that yet. This is a tragedy pushed upon us from both sides of the government. Lil' Wayne said it best. He encapsulates his feelings by proclaiming: "Born right here in the USA, but looked by the whole world as a refugee." I could easily change it to "Seen nothing but the USA, but looked by the whole country as a foreign thing. And as a criminal. And as a thief." I could go on.
Note: I found the info on Pelosi's comment on The Sanctuary, a great resource for those who understand migration as a human right.
Also, check out the commentary by DreamActivist, The Unapologetic Mexican, and Citizen Orange.
Lastly, if you want to let Speaker Pelosi that a path to citizenship is vital to immigration reform, give her a call. Her number is (415) 556-4862.
Good night. (and thanks for reading this blog).
Date: Wed, Oct 22, 2008 at 3:02PM
Subject: I'm sorry, Matias, you can't vote
First, Republicans were counting on you to stay home on Election Day, but our efforts will ensure that doesn't happen. Now that the threat of young people swinging the election is a reality, there have been new efforts to keep young people from voting.
Don't worry, we have your back! YDA has created an Election Protection Guide to help protect you and your vote on November 4th. In this manual we have outlined the common types of voter disenfranchisement to look out for and what you can do to be ready on Election Day. We have outlined ways for you to volunteer, educate, and host informative events for your local YDA chapter and your neighborhood.
Educating voters on their rights is going to be key this election, and we're counting on you to help us get the word out. Don't just protect yourself, protect other Young Democrats in your area!
Download the Election Protection Organizing Manual from the Young Voter Revolution website:
Keep it Blue,
The Chapter Manager
Ah, young democrats, you assume citizenship among your members. I already knew I couldn't vote. Thanks, I guess?
In the future, I hope all of you young Dems become champions for social justice and not Dream Act vote dodgers like some of the Dems you religiously follow. I'll forgive this one, forward it to my immigration attorney so we can have a good laugh, and use it as a way to remind all U.S. citizens to go out there and vote some good democrats into office on November 4th. And when you do vote, take YDA's advice and don't let anyone scare you out of voting.
The Immigration Policy Center (IPC), which is the research arm of the American Immigration Law Foundation, is out with a new report detailing the growing political power of "New Americans": foreign-born, recently naturalized U.S. citizens as well as their U.S.-born children.
Today, in a joint conference call with members of the National Council of La Raza, the Asian American Justice Center, and America's Voice, the IPC announced the report, which was prepared by the office of Rob Paral & Associates. Frank Sharry, from America's Voice, said that this growing trend of pro-immigrant votes strengthens the call for humane immigration reform. In his view, this New Americans can hurt the Republicans chances in November 4th:
"You can't insult people and then ask them to vote for you if you want to be succesful. Now it's time for the Democrats to be on the offense, and demonstrate they can really solve problems and stand for humane treatment of immigrants."
He added that the fight for immigration reform in 2009 will still be a difficult battle, particularly if Republicans try to once again use immigration reform as a divisive issue looking forward to the 2010 midterm elections.
The full report, titled The New American Electorate: The Growing Political Power of Immigrants and Their Children, is available here.
Here's video of Senator Richard Durbin making his final plea for the Senate to give this kids a chance, even promising to work with Republican Hutchison to reach an agreement:
Conservative Republicans and cowardly Democrats would vote against this proposal, immediately after this speech. Regardless of when the Dream Act comes to pass, Senator Durbin will surely be remembered by the thousands of Dreamers who have spent years upon years waiting for the DREAM Act to become law. Those dreamers have gone from children to teenagers, or from teenagers to adult, dreaming for something as simple as a fighting chance, a path to legalization.
To remind the Senate that our dreams remain and our hope does not subside, the folks over at Dream Act Portal are organizing a call-in action to remind the Senate that the Dream Act needs to be the first priority issue after this election.
Let folks know, and stay tuned. The call-in action will be posted early Friday.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I spent Sunday afternoon walking around the historical Olvera Street portion of Downtown Los Angeles. Along with me were Sofi and her parents, who belong to the more than ten percent of families in the United States that are considered mixed-status households. That’s her on the picture above, posing in front of a mural.
Starting 21 days before the election, approximately 100 fasters have been on a hunger strike to express their commitment and urge others to pledge to vote for immigrant rights, until they get the support of 1,000,000 people to stop the raids, and return to a healthy discussion about the contributions of immigrants to our nation, and the need for humane immigration reform. IDEPSCA, whose banner is pictured above, is one of the sponsoring organizations of this action, which is known as the Fast for Our Future. Here, Sofi points to some of the tents where the hunger strikers were resting:
That afternoon, some of the fasters were on their 4th day of fasting, and they have now accrued seven days with nothing but water. Dolores Huerta visited the fast yesterday, and Maria Elena Durazo from the LA County Federation of Labor is set to make a stop on Friday. For symbolic purposes, Sofi also penned her John Hancock in one of the pledge forms, practicing her newly acquired ability to write her own name.
It was a great afternoon overall. While Sofi might not realize, in her infant innocence, how divided her country is over immigration reform, I hope that if you are a supporter of human rights for all immigrants, you will adhere to the cause of the fasters and sign the pledge. You need to do this now, by visiting the website for The Rise Movement
Lastly, you can read about mixed-status families on this report by the Urban Institute. I n the same way that we fight for the DREAM Act out of Underground Undergrads, let's remember the millions of families like Sofi's who should be given a chance, and welcome into this country.
Meanwhile, city councils and county officials have taken up the work of regulating the presence and lifestyle of undocumented immigrants, where does that leave us?
The folks at UC Hastings College of the Law's Center for State and Local Government Law are off to discuss it this week in their conference: Cities and Counties in the Global Economy: Local Immigration and Economic Policies under a Microscope.
The full schedule, which includes presentation from the National Immigration Law Center and the Migrant Policy Institute, is here.
I am too far from San Francisco, but if any Dreamers up there want to write a review, send it over and let us know how it goes.
Thanks for your concern over the safety of the residents of Smithfield, North Carolina. I understand your commitment to law enforcement to reflect on a desire for safe and peaceful communities for your city and state.
But, when you boast about your recently implemented policy to collaborate with federal immigration authorities by claiming that Mexicans in your town are trashy and do no more than only work and make love, we have a problem.
It shows that you are inflicted with a sick condition that has plagued this nation, and many others, for decades. Making such assertion demonstrates that law enforcement is damned when our concern is to rid a community of their hard-working immigrants because you happen to have a problem with their kids playing in the front lawn, or with the color of their skin.
And you know what the worse thing about this is? We were already willing to bet this is how you felt. Good luck to you, sir.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Time and time again, he summarizes his support with a sound moral argument, but also with a strong appeal of healthy self-interest. In this article, he does so again:
I want the DREAM act to be passed because I want these bright immigrant students to help pay my Social Security.
The article itself is a review of the work that Cesar Juarez, Saul Verduzco, and other Dream students up in San Jose are doing to improve their communities.
Hat tip to all. Pass the DREAM Act.
A nation as great and diverse as America deserves leadership that opens its arms not only to those who have already reaped the rewards of the American Dream, but to those who strive and struggle each day often against daunting odds to make that dream come true. The Hispanic immigrant who became a citizen yesterday must be as precious to us as a Mayflower descendant; -- the descendant of a slave or of a struggling miner in Appalachia must be as welcome in our party as any other American.-Colin Powell at the 1996 Republican National Convention.
Colin Powell has been on the news these last few days after endorsing the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, for the US presidency. It's too bad that the GOP listened to its hate-mongers rather than to one of its few wise voices on the value of immigrant and the American Dream. In my view, his endorsement does not redeem him from the spectacle he was a part of when advocating for the invasion of Iraq under false pretenses, but it does show him as a wise man that can recognize the importance of our moment in history.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Arkansas: The Arkansas Traveler, student newspaper in the University of Arkansas, supports granting in-state tuition to undocumented students.
Arizona: You guessed it right! This is the top anti-immigrant state in the Union!
Oregon: James Crawford, main speaker at the Linguistic Association of the Southwest, tells the Oregon State audience that they should oppose anti-immigrant forces, defend bilingual education, and oppose the Measure 58 in the upcoming election.
The folks at CSUN's Dreams to be Heard have teamed up with Latin Lingo Clothing to offer these DREAM Act t-shirts. You can purchase them online by going here, or you can also visit Latin Lingo's stores in Northridge, Glendale, and Redondo Beach. Dreams to be Heard gets a portion of the proceeds.
I'm obsessed.That is from a sad 27-year-old who admits to spending 80% of his time crafting an anti-immigration website strongly dedicated to the, let's be honest, largely irrelevant cause of nativism. He claims to want to protect immigrant workers from the wrath of "modern-day slavery", yet he also wants to deny them access to local libraries and beaches. It's all in this article.
By the looks of it, though, it looks like his website is more geared towards showing how good he looks on a suit. Which he doesn't. :(
The whole article is full of pathetic admissions, such as this one:
“I got rid of all my personal friends when I started this. I got rid of everything.”
What an idiot.
Anyway, DREAM Act forever.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
We started the week with the group Dreams to be Heard in Cal State Northridge. There were two student testimonies from club president Pedro, who shared a powerful story of how he came to be an activist for his dreams and from Gabby, who went to UCLA as an underground undergrad and is now pursuing a Master's in History at CSUN. The event was hosted by Professor Josh Sides and the Center for Southern California Studies.
On Wednesday, we visited Santa Barbara. Our first stop was the beautiful Santa Barbara City College, where folks from their ESL department hosted a discussion that included Grecia, a former underground undergrad who is now an organizer for a community organization named PUEBLO, and Celeste, who is a member of IDEAS at SBCC.
Later on that day, we visited the campus of UC Santa Barbara, where we were hosted by Professor Nelson Lichtenstein, director of the university's Center for Work, Labor, and Democracy. Marla, a Ph.D. student, shared about a different aspect of immigration in her discussion of how undocumented immigrants can ask for benefits under the Violence Against Women Act. The event also counted with the presence of Dream Act students from the group IDEAS at UCSB.
Thursday brought us to the campus of San Francisco State University, where Cintia, a leader of the recently formed IDEAS at SFSU, encouraged other AB540 students to join the group's efforts. In addition, two staff members shared their experiences as Leticia A students, attending the university as undocumented students in the 80s and progressing to become US citizens and leaders in education.
Later that day, we visiter the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Union, on the campus of UC Berkeley. Our hosts were RISE - Berkeley, the immigrant rights group there, as well as a myriad of student groups and academic offices. Maria Blanco, executive director of the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Race, Ethnicity, and Diversity, spoke of her experiences as a legal advisor during the crafting of AB540, and urged Berkeley administrators to become involved in the fight for student immigrant rights. Also, Joel from RISE spoke of the parallel trajectories of highly relevant immigration legislation in the last 25 years and a particular family's struggles to make their dreams true, reflecting on how much the DREAM Act would mean to those lives.
Friday had a very powerful event in UC Santa Cruz hosted by SIN (Students Informing Now) and the Ethnic Resource Center. Nearly 100 banana slugs packed the Cervantes conference room to hear the stories of undocumented students at UCLA and in their own campus.
As always, endless gratitudes goes to those who gave us food, a place to crash, or a word of encouragement. This week we have 5 events in the Southern California area, which we will preview tomorrow.
Stay tuned, spread the word, fight hard, smile much.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
We started last night in CSUN, where the Whitsett Lecture Room was overflowing with interested people. The university promoted the event on its website.
We have four more events in the next three days:
UC Santa Barbara - Wednesday at 4PM - University Center, State Street Room
San Francisco State- Thursday at 2PM - 116 Ethnic Studies Building
UC Berkeley - Thursday at 6PM - MLK Jr. Student Union, Tan Oak Room, 4th Floor
UC Santa Cruz - Friday at Noon - Bay Tree Building, Cervantes and Velazquez room D
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Thanks SPLC for making the connection.
It was the largest workforce raid in U.S. history at the time -- the start of a series of large raids across the country.
Helicopters buzzed the town, an airplane circled it and agents canvassed the area.
Another 300 undocumented workers who weren't at the plant at the time of the raid soon split town with their spouses and children, officials say. In essence, the town lost nearly a third of its residents in a matter of days.
"When you have a raid like that, it's just beyond your recognition," Penrod says. "It was nothing like you ever dream of. Believe me."
Five months later, tensions are high. Crime is up. Businesses are hurting. The nation's kosher supply has taken a big hit because the plant is only functioning at partial capacity. The plant is owned by Abraham Aaron Rubashkin, a powerful member of the Hasidic Jewish community.
There's a seething anger toward Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
It's a good read, and an eye-opening look at how immigrants contribute to economies small and large, and how the theory of "attrition through enforcement" affects not only the undocumented worker, but all those who belong to his community as well.
And what about the ignored immigrant sagas of slaves brought in chains from Africa? Native Americans who arrived in pre-history and were forced to emigrate out of the path of settlers? And Mexicans and Hawaiians pressed into citizenship through war and annexation? Not to mention hordes of illegal immigrants still arriving with no fanfare.
The column discusses the creation of the Peopling of America Center, which will re-focus American history around the little-known, and often tragic, stories of those who made it grow, as much as the heralded Ellis Island migrants once did. That's what this country needs.
Monday, October 13, 2008
What really distinguishes Mexican immigrants from other immigrants both past and present is that they don’t make a lot of progress over time.
That would be Jake Vigdor, an associate professor of public policy and economics at Duke University, who put together something called an "Assimilation Index". (As of press time, we could not get any information on whether watching The Hills was one of the variables on the study).
In defense of the article itself, it does go on to offer the counter-argument that arguments over assimilation should be discounted as irrelevant since the day that Ben Franklin was all riled up about those damn German immigrants that would never assimilate. Here's one of such arguments:
First, so what if it takes longer than the immigrants of yesteryear? They’ll still make it, and there’s no reason to believe that the romanticized immigrants of Ellis Island have to be the measure of all things.
And second, don’t blame today’s low-skilled immigrants; they’re trying to get ahead in an economy where wage growth is much more sluggish than it was 100 years ago and labor unions don’t have nearly the strength to help immigrants as they did in the past.
That would be Joel Perlmann calming the frenzied scholarly masses, but it's still disappointing that a major newspaper in a state like Texas, where humane treatment of immigrants is a dire need, chooses to highlight an obviously debatable issue with a title as biased as: HISPANIC IMMIGRANTS SEEN AS SLOW TO ASSIMILATE INTO AMERICAN SOCIETY. I'll be first to admit my own bias, but even I could see, reading all the way to the end of the article, that such assertion is only made by some people, and not necessarily a hard truth to warrant the editorializing title.
Ok, so they drink Negra Modelos while watching a Chivas game on Saturday instead of Milwaukee's Best Light to accompany the Packers game on Sunday. Big deal, if anything they are still respecting the day of the Lord. And they are writing this blog in English!
DREAM Act allows all to contribute
In response to Gergana Panteva’s letter “DREAM Act not fair to other students” (Oct. 9): Actually, I am sure the reporters have considered the impact on the state’s economy by giving financial aid and other educational funding opportunities to undocumented students.
Without giving aid to undocumented students and a path to legal residency, our state accrues a population of at least 15,000-20,000 students each year with degrees in teaching, engineering, mathematics, English, the sciences and many other subjects that would be able to contribute largely to today’s society. Instead, these students are unable to work legally.
In essence, without the DREAM Act, our state’s economy gets an exponentially growing pile of eager, talented, educated people with marvelous potential, but cannot access them or their intellectual resources. Why? Because they are forced to be on the periphery of a community to which they want to contribute. If the DREAM Act was not vetoed, imagine how much these students could help the economy grow in a time of deepening recession.
The reporters, as well as students, are well-aware of the processes to apply for permanent residency, as well as worker and student visas. If you go on the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services Web site (uscis.gov) and read the eligibility requirements, every single form for permanent residency requires legal entry to the United States and being here on unexpired visas. There are some ways to get around the process. I could marry a citizen for two years, do you think that is OK?
Let us instead keep it on the law-abiding front. I, too, am here for a reason. My parents and I emigrated from Pakistan when I was 6 months old. Like Bulgaria, Pakistan has a poor public education system.
It also has a corrupt and unsafe environment for religious minorities. We entered here legally on a tourist visa that lasted five years. My parents did not have the funds to apply for residency. So, we overstayed our visa. Technically, that makes me a “legal immigrant,” I’d say.
I did apply for a worker’s visa, a work permit, as well as a student visa, and my applications were denied. Again, if you read the rules, anyone here who does not have a legal visa or is not at all in the immigration process is ineligible to apply. Though I have entered legally, since I am here illegally now, that makes me ineligible.
If we actually did have ways to apply for residency and a visa or both, why wouldn’t we? I have been here for 21 years, and I have enough patience to take a longer route to residency. If such ways actually existed, then bills such as SB 1301 to actually make such a path wouldn’t exist! Logic, my friends, logic.
Now, let’s get to taxes. We have been over this time and time again. It is quite possible to pay taxes without a Social Security number. All one needs is an ITIN, which is like a tax ID number. My parents have been paying taxes since the first year they got here.
If Panteva had done her research before making such claims, she’d realize that most illegal immigrants, from car-wash workers to strawberry pickers to undocumented University of California students, pay their taxes, and happily. As undocumented students, we pay tuition, part of which goes into a financial aid fund we do not have access to.
I hope, dear readers, I have earned the right to get some of that money back. These are my resources as much as they are yours.
Legal immigrants like Panteva have the pr ivilege of applying for jobs with some level of security and benefits, grants, loans, and scholarships. Undocumented students speak to attorney after attorney, trying to find a legal path to residency, no matter how tedious.
Such a path simply does not exist. If you can find one, please let me know, for I would be more than happy to pursue it. It is time for some shortcut to be established, because a path to legal residency or citizenship is impossible to achieve for undocumented students.
Impactful effort coming out of Placita Olvera. I heard today that at least 10 people are going to fast for the entire 21 days. Sign the pledge and spread the word here.
Friday, October 10, 2008
It's a very, very tough sell, for the same reason any immigration reform is a tough sell. People see those visas, incorrectly, as enabling immigrant workers to compete with American workers. We'd like to see an administration move forward. Congress is always reactive, instead of looking down the pike, and looking at the demographics of our country. When the economy comes back, we're going to need these workers even more.
-Randel K. Johnson, Vice President of the US Chamber of Commerce, on the uphill battle facing comprehensive immigration support in 2009. The US Chamber of Commerce supports a pathway to legalization for undocumented workers, and opposes underfunded or unworkable employee verification systems.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
I read the piece you submitted today for the Daily Bruin, expressing your opposition to the California Dream Act. First, I would like to applaud your self-initiated act of practical citizenship. I used to write for the Daily Bruin myself, and I know it's always good to feel students engaged in political arguments, even if we disagree. Secondly, I want to offer a response to some of the questions you posed the authors, which are some buddies of mine who I believe would not mind me taking this role. Here I go.
Have the reporters at all considered California’s concern with illegal (“undocumented,” to be politically correct) immigrants and the impact not only on the state’s economy, but also on the countless legal residents of California?
In fact they have, and found that the impact is good overall. You could categorize these three as rampant young radicals, but even prominent conservatives like the Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley, who authored Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders, have explicitly abandoned GOP dogma and endorsed an open-immigration system into the United States. That’s because the state’s economy needs their contributions in order to ensure continuous growth. Benefits like in-state tuition and institutional aid then become minimal steps that are necessary for integration, that is why the California Dream Act is key.
Are the reporters aware of the process to apply for a visa (worker or student) or a green card?
No, they think that it is nonexistent. In fact, they have never in their lives filed a single form for anything. They go to 24-hour fitness by rushing past the front desk and get in the club by storming past securities.
I kid. But I think the question itself deserves a bit of teasing. Of course they know there are legal ways, but this is so far beyond the case of the typical AB540 student, who often find him or herself in a situation over which they had no control. (You can learn more about them in our publication, Underground Undergrads: UCLA Undocumented Immigrant Students Speak Out).
How is it at all logical to offer financial aid to those who are undocumented and illegally in the state, utilizing California’s resources without paying taxes, while there is hardly enough for those that earned it and qualify?
You are right on this one. Following purely logical arguments, our next step as defenders of state-minded denizens would be to boycott the part of the economy that benefits from these illegals. How can we do this?
First of all, don’t take your car to a car wash; opt instead for your local softball team or boy scouts fund raising. Also, let’s say, do not eat out anymore. Restaurants tend to hire too many busboys, cooks, and dishwashers at a price that is supported by the cheap salaries of those job-stealers. Do not, by any means, eat any fruits or vegetables as they may have been picked by illegals. Do not eat chicken. Do not eat beef. You know what, do not eat! And don’t watch Geraldo at Large, that mustache is just too suspicious. Just don’t really do anything, basically. Do not read this blog. That should drive them out.
As if it’s not enough that my measly paychecks are taxed, my money is going to the state to pay for the education of those who are not rightfully here. Where is the logic in that reasoning?
There is no logic in that reasoning. Deride taxes all you want, but do not discount the work of all the aforementioned tax-contributing, asset-holding, resource-creating, tuition-paying out-of-status immigrant workers, and their college-aged kids. Think about that one sentence for a second. In your previous questions, you highlight them as abusers of the system and circumventers of the law. Riley, on the other hand, would call them the necessary foundation for our future prosperity. And allowing them access to the funds that they pay into (through their tuition monies) is a good step.
I understand that it’s crucial to offer opportunities to all, but aren’t our priorities the students who have earned their right to study here? It’s not our fault where we are born (I’m from Bulgaria, a former communist country with an indisputably poor public education system, and I’m here for a reason.), but there is something in our power to change that.
I like that you mention power. Is it individual power? Collective power? Flower power? When my grandparents were chased out of Ukraine by communism in the 1930s, they used their individual power. Same goes for my parents when they made the trek up to the States from Latin America in the 1990s. (I don’t write my country of birth for philosophical reasons). But when we talk about 'the power to change that' I invite you to think about the second-class citizenry we have created with our policies, and our collective power to change their status, and grant them full access that matches their contributions to our culture and our society. You don’t like that they are illegal? Join them in fighting for a path to citizenship like the one you had.
Is it true that undocumented students are really charming and sweet?
I don’t know either. But there is only one way you could find out. Let me show you L.A. as I know it. We could have a picnic in MacArthur Park and meet some of the local undocumented folks. Buy some street pupusas from the adamant free-marketeers that work out of the underground economy and the sidewalk kitchen. At the end of the night, we can have some California wine, cheer for those who produced it grape by grape, regardless of their immigration status. We will deride communism and praise Hristo Stoichkov!
OK, you didn’t really ask that last question, but still, what do you think of this response? There are more statistics here. I hope you appreciate this candid response and feel free to hit me back.
We must send the message to the next U.S. president, whoever he is, that the DREAM Act is important and should be passed during the first 100 days in office.
Meredith Gilbert, in West Des Moines, pens a letter to Iowa's Des Moines Register, remembering Dream Act students, who in this election cycle have not been as prominent as Vladimir Putin's shiny KGB stare, David Hayes, Hockey moms, or the infamous chant "Drill, baby, drill!".
Pass the DREAM Act.
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
"Simplicity of character is no hindrance to the subtlety of intellect."
We often undermine the importance of being simple-in character. That is to be humble and abstain from the selfish egotism, that is Pomp. Some have said that humility belongs to the conformists that like to go along with the ebb and flow of our system and lack individual perception on realistic matters. Humility however, comes from an understanding that unnecessary ostentaneousness is trite, and not from deference to a system. Humility requires deep introspection and analysis of one's surroundigs, and requires an action, often times not a physical but an abstract action. Humble people choose to remain simple not because they do not understand or care about what is going on around them, but because they comprehend that egotism leads nowhere. Simplicity of character is therefore...priceless. And, to say that it hinders intellect is crass.
After writing this I began to examine what it means for me, an undocumented student, to live humbly. I realized that up until we get to college, we are a part of the concensus, we are no different than other kids in high school, elementary, kindergarden and so on... We get to college and are faced with the harsh reality that indeed we are different; however, we choose to push forward. Our fight reflects the hopes and investments of our familes, yet we humbly remain in the shadows. We continue to push, even when end fail to meet, there's always that miraculous entity we call "la familia" that helps us. I hope that anyone who reads this realizes that America is in need of serious immigration reform. One that would stop detrimenting the development of young developing minds through placing challenges in front of them. In the words of Diogenes Laertius, "The foundation of every state is the education of its youth," and our country is obviously ignoring these words of wisdom.
Lawrence Davis, chancellor of the predominantly black University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, compared the current plight of undocumented Hispanics to the plight of black students in the South before integration.
"How are you going to increase the percentage of baccalaureate degrees if you've got a group of citizens who've been denied an education?" Davis said. "You realize that's the reason that most of the Southern states are at the bottom of the education spectrum anyway, right? Because they didn't educate African Americans through the years."
The rest of the article is here.
'There are over 200 million people who live outside their countries of origin, driven by misery, hunger, violence, wars, ethnic rivalries, but also by the desire for a better life,'' Martino said.
The influx of immigrants into the world's richer nations is ''often experienced by the host country as a sort of 'invasion', with negative repercussions on (social) stability and public safety issues''.
The cardinal said the negative climate ''makes human life even more sad and bitter for many immigrants'' and can drive them further to the margins of society.
''The problem is not resolved by closing borders but by countries welcoming the immigrant influx, with the right balanced and solid rules'' in order to ease integration, he said.
With the increased movement of people around the globe, both internally and between countries, governments have been left in a position where they must scramble to maintain well-ordered societies. The most dangerous effect is the rise of anti-immigrant legislation in many countries, which is usually coupled with xenophobic sentiments and shallow nationalism.
A basic google search can enlighten one of this reality. Undocumented migrants can be Chinese in Canada, Salvadoreans in the US, Jamaicans in Trinidad and Tobago, Algerians in Portugal, Bolivians in Argentina and almost every other possibility you could imagine. Now, this phenomenon presents itself in one of the weirdest cases yet: undocumented Ecuadorians in Ecuador.
GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, ECUADOR -- A few weeks ago, 19 Ecuadorean citizens detained on these world-renowned islands were marched onto a plane and sent back to the continent under armed guard. Their crime? Illegal migration.
So far this year, the government has expelled 1,000 of its citizens from the Galapagos -- a living laboratory of unique animal and plant species -- who were there without residency and work permits. It has also "normalized" 2,000 others, in effect giving most of them a year to leave.
People talk, money walks, and Ecuadorians get deported back to the continent while rich tourists get to mingle with the tortoises. The story is just weird, and the delicacy of the peculiar habitat in the Galapagos Islands should be taken into serious consideration.
But, what of these workers rights, something intrinsic in me wants to pass some sort of Galapagos-specific Ecuadorian Dream Act. Ha!
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Meanwhile, Denver Post columnist Susan Greene narrates a story similar to those that led the effort for AB540 and the adoption of in-state tuition exemptions in 9 other states:
We crack down on a kid like Jose for a decision his parents made when he was 11 months old to cross the border in search of a better life for their children.
We tell ourselves it's only fair to our own kids and the people who come here legally.
And we pat ourselves on the back for following the letter of the law.
But we are wrong...
Be strong, Denver. Full article here.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Up in the Santa Cruz Sentinel, SIN and UCSA representatives penned an opinion piece to remark that this is only a temporary setback: "Despite the governor's veto, students are still united in the fight for equal access to the UC."
Down in San Diego, the editorial board of the UCSD Guardian has harsh words for Arnold: "It is irresponsible and shortsighted of the governor to repeatedly ignore legislators by vetoing this crucial measure."
UC Santa Barbara's Daily Nexus reported on the issue in a news article, quoting UCSA board member Paulina Abustan, who feels sad but remains optimistic: "It’s sad because everyone supports it but the governor, and he keeps making excuses… But support is growing, and I think it’s building momentum.”
My homies at the UCLA Viewpoint section published a piece by my homies at IDEAS at UCLA and the EVP Office: Marilyn, Ignacia, and Jesse.
It is an injustice that these students are still banned from financial assistance programs that they help pay for.
Update (4:38PM): Far, far away, Dreamers are getting ready for 2009: the year of the Dream Act. Congrats Cornell in your pro-student immigrant conference!
Sacramento, CA – Approximately a hundred protesters participated in a rally yesterday to demand the removal of the Arnold Schwarzenegger portrait from the halls of the Capitol building.
The organizers, gathered under the banner of Coalition United for Legal Eradication of that Republican Orange-haired Savage, or CULEROS, are a fringe group of the Republican Party in the State of California. In order to salvage what little remains of their party, they want to pretend that Schwarzenegger never happened.
"It's just not fair for us," said party chairman Aquiles Imploro, "the Republican Party had some values at some point, we even ended slavery! But whenever we try to have an argument about anything, it just always comes back to that guy with the reddish orange hair that thought governing was just a huge photo-op."
Once a prominent part of the state politics, the Republican Party has now been reduced to the margins of the political spectrum now dominated by the two major Californian parties of "Democrats that are like Parks" and "Democrats that are like Ridley-Thomas".
Schwarzenegger, an Austrian bodybuilder and actor that went on to serve two terms as governor of California in the early 21st century, led a tumultuous administration that saw itself unable to fix a precarious budget crisis and gained the dubious distinction of vetoing five "dream acts" in five consecutive years, a repeated decision that economic historians consider one of the most wrongheaded moves in the history of Austrian bodybuilding, which is what Schwarzenegger thought was the primary duty in his role as Governor of California.
"Schwarzenegger – or Mr. Brain Freeze, as most people knew him when he left office – proved himself to be consistently incapable to connect the dots in an otherwise routine bill that would have ensured that all students, regardless of citizenship status, were able to apply for scholarships to which their tuition money already contributed," said Maria Jenn Grande Contreras, director of the UC Irvine Center for the Study of the Global Economy. “At the time, the bills had large support from faith-based, business, and labor organizations. This just chipped away at the support of the GOP, now know as LOP, just at a time where Latinos were gaining ground in California politics”.
The decision was largely blamed for the economic collapse that the state suffered when these high-achieving students sought refuge elsewhere. The IDEAS Global Movement, an open-borders organization centered around creating empowering programs in Latin America, became instrumental on reversing the “brain drain” trends away from its original direction towards California, exporting valuable talent to other states and countries.
“This was a wrong-headed move that hurt the state. These students were world-changers, and the governor just kept shunning them year after year, and their party lost all its relevance,” said State Senator Tam Inzunza, a former Dream Act student and member of the Democrats that are like Ridley-Thomas Party.
Schwarzenegger’s political career was ended shortly after his fifth veto of the Dream Act, when it was discovered that the lead-based oils used to dye his peculiar orange hair were the main cause of pollution in the state. Now the LOP wishes it could just eliminate him from the record books.
“Enough is enough,” said Imploro, who proposed replacing the portrait with a picture of official state mascot Mickey Mouse. “At least the mouse was enviro-friendly,” he added.
Puli tzer-, Oscar-, Nobel-, and NBA Most Valuable Player trophies-winning author, actor, diplomat, and basketball player Matias Ramos, a former activist for the California dream acts, commented on the situation from his ranch in Tierra del Fuego: "It's really sad to see what happened to the legacy of Mr. Brain Freeze. I mean, he sucked and we all hated him, but he sure knew how to smoke a cigar!"
Sunday, October 5, 2008
But I want to refer to a now dormant gem: Arnold Speaks. Here's Arnold take on what many of our discussions during the campaign were centered around: dreams.
So, Mr. Brain Freeze, what do you dream of?
Coming this week:
- A look-back at Arnold's administration, from the year 2044.
- A vote-by-vote analysis of SB1301, and what is needed for a veto-proof majority next year.
- A review of the Journal of Law and Social Policy's latest issue, focusing on undocumented students.
- The usual stuff
We have gotten a tremendous response since we started blogging full-time, and even though the readership remains comment-shy for the most part, we hope you stay with us and invite your friends to join us. Have a happy Sunday!
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Election time is always awkward for those of us who are not in a position to vote. I've been feeling like a faker lately, joining into discussions about who I'm going to vote for, you know, hypothetically. Especially out here in Rhode Island because no one knows about my immigration status. I try to make up for it by posting youtube videos. :) But really, aside from keeping up with the debates and phone banking for Obama, I'm attempting to do my part.
There are a few videos in the post below, so make sure to shuffle through the rest of them at the bottom of the screen!
To be left out of a civil rights movement could very well lead to the absence of how the Asian American community is also in need to legislative reform that applies to them. As explained in the Korean Resource Center's new report on undocumented Asian students, while Asian students are portrayed as having no educational struggles, this is far from the truth as the majority of Ab540 students at the University of California are of Asian descent.
Check out this discussion on the model minority idea. This is a couple weeks old, but it's a goody.
Guests on the radio show include:
- Doua Thor, executive director of the Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, a national organization advancing the interests of Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese Americans through leadership development, capacity building and community empowerment
- Elaine Kim, professor of Asian-American studies at UC Berkeley
- Robert Teranishi, professor of higher education at NYU and co-director for The National Commission on Asian-American and Pacific Islander Research in Education, a project funded by the College Board
Now, the funding that supports them is gone after they became the only UC program to get their funding vetoed.
Full disclosure: I am currently an intern at the UCLA Labor Center.
Friday, October 3, 2008
The Hollywood figures on this video are much different. As artists, they dissect from our reality and recreate it in video form, and at the same time what they throw our way shapes us, too. It's hard for me to see them as people, because even in their presumed honest message they carry traits similar to those they plant on the screen. (For an example, refer to Sarah Silverman who annoys the hell out of me despite all our similarities).
Anyway, register to vote, folks. It's an opportunity that not everyone gets.
During the 2005 commencement ceremony at Santa Monica College, the year I transferred to CSUN, the governor, who attended SMC in the early 70’s, appeared as the keynote speaker. I remember thinking about that speech during our trip to Sacramento, on September 17th.
I’ve never been a big fan of the governor, but I couldn’t help but to think of his words, and in a strange way it gave me lots of hope. Part of me wanted to believe that he actually gave a crap about education and about California’s future, but I was just giving him way too much credit.
These are some of the words he said during his speech at SMC on June 14, 2005:
Now, the important thing is here, the message is, be strong. Go after your goal. Now, it’s going to be a big struggle. It’s going to be a lot of work. And make sure that you understand one thing; that you are the only obstacle. There is no other obstacle for you than you yourself, your own mind, because America and California is already the land of opportunity. It’s already the state with the greatest opportunity. You’re already here in the greatest state in the greatest country in the world.
So the only obstacle that you have is your own mind. Never fear competition. Always go all out, and always overcome your fears, because that’s what courage is all about. Courage is not the lack of fear, but courage is to mow through the fear and to go after your goals and do what you want to do.”
How ironic, don’t you think? The governor saying, “you are the only obstacle”. Yesterday, during the last hour of the night, with hundreds maybe thousands of students waiting to hear news on the CA Dream Act (SB1301), many glued to the TV for any news, searching the internet, waiting for a call, a text message, an e-mail, a facebook message, a myspace post….waiting for a miracle….the governor became THAT obstacle:
During that same trip to Sacramento, and on our way back to LA, we saw a movie which I’m sure most of you have heard of, “WALKOUT!”. After the movie, many of us shared our thoughts and feelings. Susan, a UCLA IDEAS member, pointed out that in one of the scenes one of the characters asked, “What have you accomplished with all of this (walkout)? Nothing, nothing has changed”, and another character, a young student, said: “We have changed”.
Susan was right to point that out, we all have changed, we all have grown, and the fact that we are sharing our thoughts, our feelings, and opening a dialogue is a proof of that. If I recall correctly, this didn’t happen last year when the governor vetoed the CA Dream Act. And it’s absolutely beautiful to see that this time we are all willing to share, to speak out and to continue the fight, because this is far from over. If the governor was able to hear us chanting in front of the state capitol, then he knows that WE’LL BE BACK!
Despite the irony that his 2005 commencement speech turned out to be, I leave you all with a message from the governor himself, hoping that he lives up to his words someday, and knowing that we will:
“…keep up the good work. Work, work, work. Study, study, study. Win, win, win, and give back to the community.
He reviews every bill, he signs the ones that are good for California, vetoes those that don't move the state forward.
-Governor Schwarzenegger's press secretary Aaron McLear, on the process used by the governor to determine which bills to sign, and which to veto. Full story here.
PS: It's been a busy two days, but posting pace will pick up again soon.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Once again the Governor has chosen to ignore non-partisan research and business community support for a landmark education bill that would strengthen California’s workforce. For the third year in a row the Governor choose to override his own appointees and those agencies responsible for managing higher education in our state, and turn a blind eye to the immigrant students of our state.
The press release, in its entirety, is posted right here.
I have too much in my heart to let it out.
I would like to shout it and let you know my frustrations
Sometimes I wanna give up
Sometimes I want to let go
But how can I let go of my dreams
They are what keeps me alive
They are what keeps me going
What is so wrong with wanting an education!!!!
I have done all I needed to do
I became all you wanted me to be
I am a good person
I help others
I work hard
I have principles
I am a role model
I am a mentor
I resolve conflict
I promote peace
I promote education
I promote communication
I promote LOVE
WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT ME TO DO!!!!
But you know what I have news for you, if you don't want my talents
someone else must do.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.
-Gandhi, quite possibly talking about the undocumented student movement.
The groundwork was done: newspaper editorials gave them support, chambers of commerce and school boards pushed resolutions in their favor, and even a few conservatives were willing to speak out in favor of this bill.
And still there was a veto.
It seems the booby-grabbing, cigar-smoking walking plastic surgery with orange hair that we have for a governor cannot be counted to think rationally about an issue that involves a combination of a moral call to action with outside-the-box thinking on behalf of economic development.
Why? In part, it’s because he doesn’t know what is it to be a poor college student, let alone an undocumented one. At the Power and Unity Coalition rally two weeks ago, one could witness eager action combined with fresh intellectualism. Hundreds of mostly Latino college students chanted, gave speeches, recited poetry, laughed, and cried over their society’s current ills. Could the governor, as an immigrant, see through the foggy politics of nativism and decide in favor of these students? Could he share the vision expressed on their blue signs, those that expressed their future professions and the dreams they hoped to achieve? The answer is no. He doesn’t know because these high-achieving students do not seem familiar to him. After all, when he was young, he wasn’t trying to get himself ahead and change the world, he was learning how to say “ass” in Portuguese:
Arnold the politician is not far removed from Arnold the young stud: a lucky guy who got to see the world because of his profession, yet spent his time playing a game and abusing his power, rather than seeing the opportunity his position provided him.
Now, I appreciate bodybuilding as a skill and as a profession – one time, I even spent a whole summer building a perfect beer belly. But I do not think that is a youth profession that prepares you for a position of leadership, and this was demonstrated last night. At the last hour of the legislative year, Arnold struck out a common sense bill with a nonsensical veto message. But the message of the students, as they left the capitol was level-headed and clear, in the type of one-liner that the governor can both deliver and understand: We'll be back.