Thursday, March 01, 2007

Were you born on this side of the line?

I have some thoughts on my freshmen stories that I'll share tomorrow, but first I wanted to get something off my chest.

I never post on politics. I don't want endless wars about political issues here. But I just read something that really chaps my hide and I want to say this one thing this one time and move on.

I just read a metaphor that compared illegal immigrants to some guy who breaks into your house and cleans your carpets and then demands to stay.

Faulty metaphor.

I don't own America and I'm not the only one living here and new people come in legally every day.

It's more like some guy breaks into a hotel then pays the nightly rent and keeps the place clean but doesn't pay for the porno movies.

Most of my students are Americans. They were born here, they grew up here and they speak English just fine. They work hard, they have dreams of going to college and getting good jobs and living like the kids in Beverly Hills just like any other American kid. And most of their parents sneaked across the border illegally. Most of them pay taxes.

I've read the stories they tell about their parents. The amount of sacrifice they were willing to go through to give their kids a better life is insane. The place they come from is a mess. And if you were in their shoes you would have made the exact same decision they did. Watch Maria Full of Grace. Would you go back?

Some of my kids have parents from different countries. Some of them have never been to Mexico. Where are we planning on sending them if we decide to deport their parents? They are not Mexican. They're American. They love this country just like any other American kid. Sometimes more because they know about the alternatives.

They're not all perfect. The gang problem has grown, but the best way to fix that is not to write them off; it's to educate them. And the best way to prevent them from coming here is to give them something to live for on the other side of the line. You know, infrastructure? The kind we're supposed to be building in Iraq where they don't want us? Imagine how much we could impact our own illegal immigrant problem if we put half as much energy and funding into Mexican business and agriculture as we have into the Middle East.

We're all the children of immigrants. My grandmother came over here from England long ago. She had a piece of paper saying it's okay for her to be here; does that make her more deserving? Or is it because she's white? Or that English is her native language? Or that she had money?

This was supposed to be a country of hope. "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free," remember? Or did that only apply to your ancestors?


  1. Anonymous3:59 PM

    yay Emily!

  2. Anonymous7:07 PM

    You sound like someone who doesn't pay as much in taxes as some of us who don't like to see it drained by people whose government won't take care of them.

    Notice how both "metaphors" have the words "break in" in them? to me that denotes doing something illegal. Should we let the bank robbers go as well?

    Also, this country gives FAR TO MANY incentives for them to come here "illegally" when there are plenty of ways to get here legally.

    And as for "infrastructure" it's up to us to fix their country? I don't like it in Iraq and I don't like it "below the line" They don't want their people to stay there so good luck with that.

    Plus your school is a prime example of money going to waste.

  3. Ouch...looks like you opened a can of worms...

    I tend to keep my trap shut (i am a Libra)
    Hows the film going? Did you buy your megaphone yet?


  4. Anonymous dissent. That kills me. Coward.

    One thing's for sure, there's no easy answer. But that's not what you're saying.

    One of the trickiest aspects to this is who gets to make the rules? Who chooses who stays and who goes, who comes in and what happens to family members?

    Our government? So far they haven't proven themselves to be very just "deciders" if you know what I mean.

    Rock on.

  5. Anonymous,

    I expected most of your comments to come from somewhere, although preferrably from someone who leaves his or her name.

    First of all, why did you put "metaphors" in quotes? That makes no sense grammatically.

    Anyway, it's that bit about my school being money going to waste that gets me. You must be a real racist jackass to suggest that the kids I teach are less deserving than rich white folk because they're poor and Latino and their parents brought them here.

    As for building up infrastructure, it's just more efficient. We can build a million miles of fences and they will still find a way. But if they have a stable economic system, illegals will no longer need to cross the border.

    Or you could continue to bitch about the problem and pretend you're better because of where you were born.

  6. Well said on many accounts, Emily.

  7. Anonymous8:46 AM

    Ha! Who's the racist? You automatically stick this on rich white folks. I'm African American idiot. I might be a jackass but I'm not a racist. Racist is a word that people like you throw around because you know deep down inside that these people are breaking the law and its the only thing that people will back down to when they hear it. By the way...Latino is not a race it's an ethnicity so use a new word. Do your homework.

  8. And being black means you can't be racist against Latinos?

    We have black children in our school, too. Am I wasting my time teaching them, or only the Mexicans?

    My kids didn't break the law. Most of them are American citizens. You think they deserve less than you because of where their parents were born? That is the definition of prejudice.

    If you have a problem with illegals crossing the border and think we should do more to punish them that's one thing. That I get. I don't agree, but I get it. But why do you want to take away their chance to be contributing members of society?
    You think I shouldn't be teaching these kids? They're human beings, for goodness sake. They have dreams and lives and potential just like anybody else. I'm looking around my classroom right now and thinking about how disgusted I am with the idea that anyone wants to take away their opportunities because of their ethnicity. I love these kids. They deserve every chance they can get.


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