Lives Hang in the Balance, I Urge Sen. Reid to Negotiate a Compromise
by NJDEM1, Wed Apr 05, 2006 at 11:35:28 PM EDT
Growing up in New Jersey, I made many friends who came from an assortment of different countries. I loved going to the Filipino cotillions, eating empanadas, or just hearing about old Poland from my friend's grandparents. One friend whom I developed a particularly strong relationship was with my friend Luis. We did everything together,and both developed strong relationships with each other's families. A particular episode that I will never forget was the college fair at school. We were both touring the different booths, I was talking up a storm about which colleges were good, which had the best parties, which ones sucked, etc. Luis was noticeably quiet. When we left, I continued bantering about college life. He simply replied, "I'm not going". He then cleared the gulp in his throat and explained to me slowly, with his voice shaking how his family had overstayed their visa and were here in the country illegally, college was not an option. Naively, I replied, "Why don't you just apply for citizenship". Little did I know about our arcane immigration laws. I graduated and eventually came to New York to study business . Luis on the other hand graduated and found a job as a mechanic. He still lives at home and yearns for the opportunity to go to college.
Some may argue his family broke the law and should be sent home. That option solves nothing and extracts productive members from our society. Through no fault of Luis, he is in the US. He was raised here and was taught American values. He is as American as anyone else. The immigration issue has become very personal to me because of him. It aches me to see my best friend unable to study, drive, travel, or even find a job that pays a decent salary. I was thrilled when the Senate took up immigration reform, lawmakers have let this issue boil over too many times. We CAN NOT let this session go by without a comprehensive bill that addresses some if not all of these people. They are in dire need.
I'm a realist and understand the Senate is controlled by Republicans. The Senate unlike the House is a place where compromise is essential. I commend the Democratic Leadership for supporting the McCain-Kennedy proposal. Senator Reid is a much respected advocate of immigrants rights as well as border security. I'm aware that the McCain-Kennedy bill does not have the 60 votes to withstand opposition. But some GOP senators have offered an alternative, which will deal with about 7 million people. The jist from this article in the Houston Chronicle, http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/fron t/3774766.html , It seems that the GOP alternative might be the only option for many struggling people. We can not continue to sweep this under the carpet any longer. Luis and his family would rather have something rather than nothing. Their hope and dreams lies in the US Senate.