Musings on Immigration

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Participating in the Atlanta Three Day Breast Cancer Walk

The slogan for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is “Everyone deserves a lifetime.” This is exactly what we (Kim and Mandira) have been fighting and training for the last several months: the chance for everyone to have the opportunities of life. This experience has been incredibly rewarding and generous in so many ways.
We wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to help the men and women all over the world who are faced with the onset of breast cancer, like the inspirational two year survivor Janet Podlogar, Kim’s mother, who battled and survived this terrible disease.
The fear, confusion, anger, tears, pain, depression, complications, and all of the surgeries and treatments all wear on individuals and families affected by the disease.
Our 3-day experience began on a rough, rainy, and chilly day, but the inclement weather wasn’t able to dampen our spirits on Friday, October 24th! After a wet 18.3 miles, everyone was safely relocated and able to sleep indoors Friday night! Saturday provided a much-needed change in weather. It started off chilly, but turned into a beautiful, breezy fall day. There were plenty of fun sights along the 18.9-mile route, including a male crew member in a wedding gown who welcomed walkers to dance their way to lunch.
There were many ups and downs as rolling hills took us through Duluth and Johns Creek, but there was plenty of encouraging community support along the route, with signs and banners, candy giveaways, cheering, and sidewalk chalk messages that kept us going strong.
Sunday was another gorgeous fall day in the Atlanta area. The 15.6-mile route traveled down Peachtree Street through Brookhaven, Buckhead, Midtown, and Downtown. Lunch was held at Piedmont Park, a city favorite and signature area in Atlanta. It all culminated in an inspiring Closing Ceremony at the Georgia World Congress Center in the heart of Atlanta. The final victory walk with all the walkers, survivors, crew, and family members cheering on was an emotional and touching finish.
Sixty miles over the course of three days was emotionally, physically, and mentally challenging, but we were able to meet wonderful people and make ties that will bond us together for a lifetime, while experiencing a challenge that provided encouragement and support to those fighting the struggles that come with breast cancer.

The Election and Anti-Immigration

This week’s national elections brought home a very simple fact. The American People have, for a third election cycle, once again rejected Anti-Immigration candidates. Hate simply does not sell in America, and the Anti-Immigrationists only peddle hate. Frank Sharry and the folks at America’s Voice, issued a press release today confirming what many of us already suspected, Latinos came out strongly for President-Elect Obama and the Democrats. The key demographic came out so strongly not because they inherently believe all that Democrats espouse, but rather because the Republican party, the party most Latinos would culturally and philosophically be more drawn to, rejected them, classified them as “illegal” and law breakers, and literally chased them away and lost them, perhaps for a generation or more. Anti-Immigrationists, who tragically have found a home in the Republican party, can say they are only talking about “illegal aliens” and that they love legal immigrants, but the reality is they are not. The code word for anti-Latino is “illegal alien.”

Of note in this election is that once again, just like in 2004 and in 2006, those politicians like Lou Barletta, the former mayor of Hazelton, Pennsylvania, the original home of some vicious anti-immigration ordinances, was soundly defeated in a Republican oriented district, in his bid to become a U. S. Congressman. Several other Anti-Immigration politicians were also soundly defeated, including Marilyn Musgrave (CO-4), Thelma Drake (VA-02), and possibly Virgil Goode (VA-5) (race too close to call at press time). At the same time, politicians espousing rationale immigration proposals were elected in many parts of the United States, including Dina Titus (taking Rep. Portes seat in NV-3), Bill Foster (IL-14), Jim Himes (taking Rep. Shay seat in CT-4), Rep. Giffords (AZ-8), and many others. Put simply, what can conclusions can we draw from this election? Hate does not sell, it does not draw votes, and it does not win elections.

Thank Goodness.

Immigration and The Anti-Immigrationists

Some recent articles have focused on the lack of discussion on immigration during the presidential campaign. This should come as no surprise to anyone who lived through last year’s debacle on immigration reform. The reality is that “immigration” is the new third rail of American Politics. Touch it, and you die (at least politically). This reflects nothing more than a misunderstanding of the impact of positive immigration reform would have on our society and our economy. What would the Anti-immigrationists do, if they could not rail again “Illegal” aliens?

Now, do not be fooled by the standard Lou Dobbs retort: “I am completely in favor of legal immigration.” In fact, one of the leaders of the Anti-Immigration movement, Mark Krikorian, recently made it quite clear in his new book, “The New Case Against Immigration: Both Legal and Illegal.” Krikorian, finally comes clean on his movement’s real purpose–Stop all immigration. This position reeks of the Know-Nothing politics of the 1850s, reflects bias unbefitting our society, disrespects the enormous positive impact of immigrants to the United States, and most importantly, is just plain wrong.

It is imperative that those who understand and support positive, legal immigration to the United States for us, our children, our future, and our nation, not be cowtowed into not voicing their concern at the anti-immigrant bias expressed by those in the Anti-immigration Lobby.