I am going to make the charitable assumption that I have not been hacked and that my attributed quote from another newspaper about ASU pulling a young ‘dreamers’ scholarship caused leading search engines to shut down this post. So I’ll pull references to the article and the quote and see what happens. The story was about Eduardo Lujan-Olivas, a young, ‘undocumented’ student who lost a scholarship right before his classes at Arizona State University were about to start.
As a bilingual teacher, I can’t count how many Eduardos I have taught. These are the undocumented kids who came here as babies or toddlers, who grew up here attending our schools, and who now rest in a scary, legal limbo. Some of these students barely speak Spanish. They never “push 9 for Spanish” and they only go to Spanish-language TV to watch soccer.
Eduardo’s story deserves to be widely shared. The article, ASU pulls scholarship for ‘dreamer’ an hour before class, by Kaila White, The Arizona Republic 2:30 pm EDT September 8, 2016, tells of a young man who has fought his way to the top during his years in school. He worked part-time to help support his family while waging that fight, too.
Our Eduardos live all over America. They include hard-working boys and girls who become medical assistants instead of nurses because they lack that critical social security number, as well as boys and girls who sometimes drop out of school because they do not believe they can succeed educationally or professionally without that number. While knowing no other country than the U.S., many kids are growing up without dreams because their parents, friends, family members, and even educators have shut those dreams down.
“You can’t be a nurse/teacher/police officer/etc. because you do not have a social,” they are told.
I am sympathetic to the many Americans who support enforcing our immigration laws. They are watching their country change around them and that change has happened at lightening speed. But I believe we need to create a rational path to citizenship for our Eduardos and their quasi-American counterparts. These kids and young adults only know America. If we sent them “home” in any spiritual sense, we would be sending them to places like Chicago, Philadelphia, Yakima, Laredo, San Jose, Oxnard, Albuquerque, Elgin, Phoenix, Providence, Allentown, Hartford, Newark, and Las Vegas, among countless other big and little burbs.
All politics aside, these children are America’s children. They are nobody else’s children. They value hard work. A number of their parents work two or more jobs to keep their households afloat. America’s undocumented children deserve a chance to contribute fully to the country they have always called home.
Eduhonesty: Eduardo managed to use crowd funding to raise the money for his education. Achievers achieve. But I thought I’d post this today because many changes have been coming at us quickly. If we want to close the borders, I will not protest. But we have left those borders porous for decades in order to get our melons picked and our burgers flipped. The children of the men and women who took advantage of our efforts to keep agricultural and factory costs down should not have to pay the price for policies that almost seem to have been designed to lure their parents across the border.*
We have created a large class of second-class citizens in this country. Now we are threatening to send them to places they don’t know, where sometimes they do not even speak the local language. Interested in a social justice cause? Consider fighting for the dreamers, young men and women who grew up here and who deserve a chance to make this country their home. I’m all for medical assistants, but we will be the better if we let our would-be nurses follow their dreams.
*In my most cynical moments, I fear that maybe those policies were designed for just that purpose — creating a useful group of indentured servants who could never buy their way free.