Friday, April 23, 2010

Undocumented Students and the DREAM Act

My thesis is finally up!

It's been a long time coming, and I'm proud of the result. Unfortunately, my project went online approximately 7 hours after Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1070 into law, the toughest enforcement law against undocumented immigrants ever seen.

It's hard to accept—that the Legislature of our state could stoop so low. In the face of rampant opposition, clear analysis labeling the bill unconstitutional, and a rebuke from the president, the bill will become law.

There are so many facets to the wrongness of today's situation—a Legislature unconcerned with constitutionality, the very apogee of their duty; ignorance of the role undocumented immigrants play in Arizona; unprincipled political pandering; the unabashed hypocrisy of expanding and diverting resources while standing on a platform of conservatism.

The list could go on.

I'm frightened. The law will make the students I've worked with, and become close to, criminals. Their faces display prominently in the project, the cause of its impact but a liability all the same. I'm not sure I have their courage, the courage to continue fighting in the open against such irrational hate.

I can only hope this openness signifies a watershed for the immigration debate. Against such extremist policies, perhaps others will finally be stirred to action. Let's all hope. Let's all dream. Let's all wake up to a sane world, not the world I witnessed today—a world gone mad.

Monday, April 19, 2010

My thesis on undocumented students

I finished my honors thesis today, a "new media documentary" (pretentious way of saying documentary website) on undocumented students in Arizona. In an infelicitous turn of events, the Arizona Legislature choose today to pass the toughest enforcement law on undocumented immigrants in the country: SB 1070. Dramatic? Yes, but I just hope things don't go from bad to worse as I unveil my project.

I have a big problem with what the Legislature is doing, but I have a bigger problem with the ignorance they've displayed by pushing this bill through. Living in Arizona, you slowly become desensitized to the perfidy of our politics, but without a doubt this one goes too far.

Let's step back. I've come to realize — and I hope my project will portray — that undocumented immigrants are not a homogeneous group. They are as varied as ordinary, documented citizens in their circumstances, values and appearance. My experiences tell me the Arizona Legislature is wrong. Not only are they ignorant of these simple human truths (the reality of human pluralism), but they seem too wrapped up in their hubris and self-righteousness to consider the implications of their actions.

Just whom are we deporting? Are we correct in refusing to let these people stay in this country or are we removing the very people who can help us strengthen this state? What makes you a citizen beyond your seemingly arbitrary birth on a particular plot of land?

Those are just three questions I hope my thesis cause people to ask themselves. I don't aim to change minds. I just want to get people to question the stereotypes they've constructed for undocumented immigrants. I'll link to the project as soon as it's online, which should be in the next couple days.

Here goes nothing...