Its a Good Friday

Karol Collymore

It's Good Friday today.  An hour ago I was thinking of a way to get my boyfriend to go to Mass with me, but for now, my thoughts are straying elsewhere. 

I just saw hundreds of students stream through on SW 4th avenue chanting for their parents rights to stay in the United States.  They are the children of immigrants and are defending their parents part in helping our community function.  For them, it's a Good Friday.  Teenagers aren't often proud of their parents, but today, they were. A man walked by me on the sidewalk and mumbled something about shipping them all back.  All I could do was laugh.  It made me think that this guy didn't have a real opinion, he probably heard that on a news show (guess what channel) and is just repeating it.  I wonder how his family got here?  The New Yorker had a great editorial cartoon: Native Americans are standing on a coast watching ships full of white men approach.  They ask themselves, "Do you think they have their documents?"

I'm not originally from this country.  I was born in Panama; as was my sister and our parents.  Before someone gets crazy, I'm legal, so are they, calm down.  This country has provided me so much privilege and I've respected that privilege.  I'm sure most immigrants have done the same. 

America had done the best job in the modern world of dealing with its immigrants.  The system is not broken, its just a little overworked at the moment.  If we do a little research on other countries with immigration issues, their systems are in disarray.  Has anyone looked at France lately?  Bad Friday over there this year. 

Let's not forget the masterminds in the White House created this debate to distract us.  It has reinforced what we already knew - the house of cards were bound to crumble and its getting fun to watch.  They haven't had a Good Friday in a few months. 

But, it is a Good Friday today.  The sacrifice of one person, created a better world today.  The sacrifice of immigrant parents have given us community members that will continue the prosperity of our country.  A tactical mistake by this administration has created instantaneous political involvement of thousands of immigrant teens who will soon be of voting age, if not already.  Bet that's not what Bush counted on.  I have a feeling that progressives have become the lucky ones after this Good Friday. 

Maybe I'll see you giving thanks today at Mass.  I'll be thanking my parents.

  • Buckman Res (unverified)

    I am the child and grandchild of immigrants to this country. America has always been a refuge for immigrants from all places throughout our history. I am all in favor of immigrant’s rights. But I am not in favor of rights for illegal immigrants. Illegals are violating the laws of this country and should be deported. That won’t happen of course as America has waited too long to deal with this problem and now faces a movement that will cow our ineffectual leaders with protests and marches.

    Legislation to stiffen penalties against illegals and those who hire them and those who abet them is a fair way to deal with the problem. Continuing to let the problem fester only creates a near slave-class that takes jobs away from the lowest skilled American workers since the majority of illegals have few job skills.

    The argument that America would starve without illegal workers to do the work is a facetious one. Once illegals were replaced by American citizens or documented workers there would be a period of adjustment as wages and prices rose but these would soon find an acceptable level as markets adjusted.

    The fact that supporters of illegal immigrants frame their position as “immigrant rights” speaks to the lack of intellectual honesty on their part. I too am all for immigrant rights, but only for those who immigrate to this country legally.

    Good Friday to you!

  • Sid Leader (unverified)


    Thank you for your thoughtful writing. We are all children of immigrants one way or another.

    As I pause to mark Good Friday, I also think of my Grandmother, Lillian, who was not allowed to go to school in Greece, as a peasant girl, so she was a shepard, tending the flock for days at a time, alone in the hills, at the age of 10, circa 1902 or so.

    Lillian came to America a few years later for a better life. She believed in being a peaceful person who shared everything she had with others. Not a selfish bone in her body. Walked a mile to the local polling booth, on election day, well into her 80's. Never missed one election. Not one.

    I think of her, and my hard-working parents, every day. And to honor my Yia-Yia (Greek for grandmother) I have a picture of her village hanging proudly in my classroom.

    Somewhere along the road, I believe my conservative, Republican siblings have lost Lillian's message of love, peace and sharing, but I know the rest of us will keep it going until we pass from this Earth.

  • (Show?)

    Show some compassion for the US citizens and legal residents.

    The issue that will be on the front line between now and November was first highlighted by really stupid members of the right wing of the R party. They came out with a very punitive and unworkable plan to deport every illegal. More politically savvy Repubs sought to soften the bill, by reducing the actual crime of crossing illegally to a misdemeanor. 191 Democrats voted against the change.

    Then everyone put together a much less draconian Senate bill, McCain/Kennedy backed by LULAC and other migrant advocates. The D’s torpedoed the senate bill at the 11th hour so that they’d not only have a wedge issue, but could spend the next 8 months portraying the Repubs as racists. I have to admire the Ds for their Machiavellian play, but cannot endorse the dishonesty.

    Meanwhile, over 2000 people per day cross the southern border to take jobs in construction, welding, or any other job available to legal residents without a college degree.

    Everyone is happy, the Democrats, George Bush, Vicente Fox, LULAC, MEchA, and the businesses that will hire the illegals for substandard wages.

    Unhappy? US workers, many of whom, by the way, are Latino, African-American, Asian, etcetera.

    Nobody in the reality based community thinks or advocates sending back people who have been here for decades. They/we just want to stop the 1.4 million illegals projected to enter this year, the 1.6 that will enter next year, and so on. If I were in their place I would do exactly the same thing, but it might get a little crowded here with a population of say three billion. Everybody wants to come here.

    We currently have a high school drop out rate wich has remained constant at around 30% for the past two decades. What kinds of jobs do you think they deserve?

    Does anyone favor totally open borders and if so do you have the guts to actually admit in public that you think that the idea of nation states is outdated and that the sooner that all blue collar workers in the world are making the same low wage, say four to seven dollars per day the better?

  • Kerrie (unverified)

    I too have an immigrant father. He came here legally, was processed through Battery Park (Ellis Island had moved it 2 years before). He learned the language (English), got more education (a PhD), and went through the long process towards citizenship. After he became a US Citizen, he took the whole family back to his homeland, so that we all could see from where he came. His father earned a living cutting grass with a cycle out in the fields, and yet he became a world famous University Professor. He was proud to be an American. He was also very proud of his homeland, and was buried there when he died. He was a true immigrant. There was nothing illegal about him or his actions.

    Talk to legal immigrants, they are the ones who seem the most upset at the current situation.

  • (Show?)

    I agree with most of the comments, there is a clear distinction between legal and illegal immigrants.

    The guy that Carol encountered is who is likely a moron. While I don't agree with the way he voiced his opinion it is his consitutional right whether you like it or not.

    I have a person story revolving around the immigration issue, which something that is going on right now.

    As I have mentitioned in previous threads, I am living overseas in South Korea. Earlier this year I married a Korean woman and am in the process of working on obtaining a visa for her to come to live in the US...legally.

    This process does take sometime, about 4 or 5 months (we are actually starting it early and doing the first part and then waiting for awhile to start the second part so it will take a little longer). The visa process is quite a bit of paperwork and paying fees (about $600).

    My question for those who seem to think we should allow people to come illegally, why should some people be required to follow the law and others not.

    I'm a Democrat and pride myself on being pretty liberal, so this isn't a problem of me being close minded. It's a matter of fairness and following the law. There is no excuse.

  • Funny...Strange (unverified)

    Why is that Liberals or Progressives have to qualify their comments, such as: "My question for those who seem to think we should allow people to come illegally, why should some people be required to follow the law and others not.

    I'm a Democrat and pride myself on being pretty liberal, so this isn't a problem of me being close minded. It's a matter of fairness and following the law. There is no excuse."

    Why does David feel the need to add that first sentence of the 2nd graph about close minded?

    Also, on NPR today, I heard a program about Liberals/Progressives who have religous beliefs (Christian, Jewish, Isamic, etc) and they feel the need to phrase it as being "Spiritual" rather than having "Faith" or being "Religous". Why is that? Can't there be liberal Jews? liberal Catholics? Or do they feel the need to create a new label (Spiritual), kinda like the new and improved "Progressive" instead of the old "Liberal"?

    Kinda funny, no?

  • Randy2 (unverified)

    People. Listen to yourselves. Yes, they are illegal. What this administration is doing is wanting to punish people ex post facto. Criminalize their existence -- and spend vast resources to enforce this new get-tough policy. At least as far as I can tell from the coverage of the bills (but I did miss any mention of the costs of enforcement and where THAT money might come from).

    But it is still currently an illegal status. Congress can just as easily change the law in the other direction. Set some conditions and legalize those who pass the conditions with a stroke of the pen. Stabilize the oh-so-many who have become stable members of our community, enriching the lives of those of us who have gained from their presence.

    There is a reason America is attractive. Those who come legally or illegally want to come and be a part of what was once the greatest democratic hope for the world.

    For those who simply suggest deport them, our economy will be fine, blah blah blah, please cite to some reliable statistical data that suggests so and accounts for the costs of rounding up, conducting hearings and ultimately transporting them to the border and also includes the costs of broken families, shuttered businesses and rotting produce.

    Please. I'm willing to consider hard evidence - fantasy or wishful thinking is decidely unpersuasive.

  • (Show?)

    Funny..strange..I don't know why I qualified my comments like that. Certainly I am not anti-immigrant. What bothers me is the fact that some people who want to come to the United States...DO go through the legal channels.

    I'd also like to say, I had never had a concrete opinion about this until recently. The immigration debate in the US as well as my own experience going through the process has changed how I feel.

    It seem like there are people who seem to have the opinion that those coming here illegally have the God given right to do so. Or in the case of another commment the attitude, "they are here why make them criminals?"

    Maybe because they are just that...criminals...they broke the law. In any other instance our government would charge them and prosecute them.

    The problem is we want to pussy foot around because we might look like an "anti-immigrant" country.

    I don't know what evidence there is either for or against deportation in terms of how illegal aliens filling jobs that are normally seen as unattractive to others. If there is evidence, on either side I'd like to see it.

    I do agree passing new laws is not the answer. Obviously we should be enforcing the laws we have first and asking ourselves how can the process be changed to make enforcing them more efficent.

    I'll tell you another story in terms of real life. I'm living here in Korea and they are VERY serious about people being here illegally. The reason I am allowed to work here is because I am on a visa (initially I was on a work visa, now I've switch to a marriage visa). If you work here illegally you are deported and blacklisted by the government to prevent you from working here again. That's in addition to the fines that you have to pay.

    Maybe it's time to penalize those who are deported for being here illegally by recording who they are and telling them they can NEVER apply for legal entry again. Could it be that these people will think twice about simply sneaking over the boarder and circumventing the law.

    There is no easy answer, but simply saying someone is entitled to walk into the country (legally or illegally) is just plain wrong. There are many people looking to legally enter the US. It's a shame that those people are essentially being penalized for being honest.

  • Sid Leader (unverified)

    Look at it this way: bis business is hooked, like a filthy drug habit, on cheap labor, aka illegals.

    They really WANT to clean up their disgusting, unpatriotic habit, but they love the BIG FAT MONEY too much.

    So, they act shocked, shocked at all the people who hire illegals -- themselves!

    If the USA wants to fix the illegal immigration problem, tell Big Bidness to stop hiring them.

    End of illegal migration tomorrow. And prices for lettuce double tomorrow afternoon.

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