A couple years ago, I was visiting a friend in his dorm and we were talking about immigration- of course, the DREAM Act. He was new to the issue and I was telling him about it. A friend of his walked into the room (where we were having a sane, intelligent talk), picked up the thread of the discussion, and said something along the lines of “well, they don’t belong here”.
I choked up and I cried, right there, in front of him. I can listen to this on TV, I can read about it, I can hear it on the radio, I can receive poorly written hate mail from people who let the profanity rip and compare immigrants to cockroaches and leeches, but I cannot listen to somebody tell me to my face that my friends, other human beings, are unworthy of happiness and are criminals who deserve to be punished because they don’t have papers. I have a real physical reaction to this, and I can feel my throat get thick, my shoulders contract, I start tuning out of the conversation and I feel myself retreat into a shell because I can’t hear it.
I started out doing this, and by this I mean supporting a path to citizenship for immigrants, because a few years ago I made some friends. And they are cool. I like them. They are normal human beings. Some of them are extraordinary high achievers with masters degrees, JDs, special awards, incredible accomplishments…and some of them are just normal, and probably wouldn’t be chosen as the poster children for the DREAM Act. But all of them have at least one thing in common: they just want a life. They want all the normal things people want: friends, families, an interesting job, some good for the world, time to travel, etc.
I believe in being happy, and I want other people to be happy too. If people are here to study, work, raise families, and have an adventure here and there, then what’s the problem? Since when is having a growing, taxpaying middle class, largely entrepreneurial, a problem?
This isn’t rocket science. They are people who, driven either by war, economic devastation, or natural calamities have left their homes forever, and come here to try and make a life. I don’t have kids (thank you, Planned Parenthood), but I know enough to understand that when you love your children, and everything is on the line, you would do anything for them. Including cross the border.
So like I’ve said before, crossing the border is an act of love. And personally, my act of love will be keeping them here.