Do you know any illegal immigrants? Your kids go to school with their kids. And if they don’t, well I think this begins to explain a great deal of the antipathy expressed toward them and their fates. Reminder: They = We.
A local situation came up over dinner a couple of nights ago and I had to (try to) explain to les enfants vertes the whys and hows of said situation. A bright, local girl who had excelled in school and won the notice of several teachers along the way had gained attention again because she, now a h.s. graduate, was cleaning houses for a living instead of going to college. Some of these teachers are my kids teachers now, so we’re all increasing cognizant of the situation. And now the kids know, too, that some of their friends at school will, upon gradation, not be availed to entry – much less any financial aid that would make it possible – to continue their education, to continue on any path they may have devised under the strain of all the pressure to success we put them under. These kids will be, in fact, consigned to a future of menial labor, inconsistent and under-employment and less overall income (and tax contributions) than their classmates, all because someone who brought them to this country was undocumented.
Suddenly, I’m having a conversation with my kids about birthright citizenship and why it is crucially important to be that country that people want to come to, want to bring their kids to, want to sneak into, if necessary, and become a part of… I was suddenly defending the nobility of a country – a country that would and does force some of its own school children into that situation that started the conversation.
There are all flavors of examples of this kind of exclusion going on – NPR just this morning. Whether its anti-Islamism or don’t-take-our-jobs hysteria, nothing is more pernicious than the proclivity to cut off access to the future that runs through this country. Hint: Future arrives anyway.