For some reason, the immigration debate is faceless.
It’s easier to say “those illegal aliens” instead of “Juan, my nephew’s best friend.” We say we have no moral responsibility to “those that broke the law coming illegally to this country,” but things change when we think of Ana Maria, our neighbor’s housekeeper. For some reason, we think that the problem is people speaking foreign languages at the grocery store or at the bank machine: “for English, press one; para Español, oprima el dos”
This attitude makes us forget that many of the people we speak about in this heated debate are kids and teenagers.
Do you remember when you were an awkward adolescent? Do you remember the fear of rejection from your peers? Do you remember when you had braces? Your first thick pair of coke-bottle glasses? Now, to all the problems of growing-pains, please add knowing that you should not even dream of going to college because you don’t have papers.
It’s really wrong to say that all Latino kids are potential gang-members. Just look around at all the successful entrepreneurs, politicians, and humanitarians that are contributing to our communities who come from immigrant families. Don’t stop a child’s genius from flourishing just because they were brought here when they were little and don’t have “papers”. Don’t allow them to waste their talent; doing so, you are hurting all of us – yourself included.
How can we say, “Sorry, you are really talented, but you don’t have papers; you can’t go to college.” Have you ever had a real talk with the daughter of the lady that cleans your desk at night while you are watching “Dancing with the Stars?” She doesn’t look like a criminal. So if this young girl is a good person, a good student – perhaps even an honor roll student- wouldn’t it make sense to let her share with the world all the latent potential within her?
So, my audacious idea is: What if we let any one who is smart enough to go to college… actually go to college?