Tuesday, April 11, 2006

National Day of Action galvanizes immigrant communities

While Congress takes (yet another) two-week recess from debating the most sweeping changes to immigration policy in two decades, protesters nationwide called on legislators to pass what they describe as humane immigration reform.
Yesterday Philadelphia's Love Park played host to over 1o,ooo people protesting the Sensenbrenner-King Bill, which is currently being debated in the U.S. Senate. (click pic to enlarge) The bill would aims to erect a 2,ooo mile wall along the Mexico border. It also would make a felon out of, for example, a doctor who treats an undocumented worker in the ER.

As a descendant of illegal Irish immigrants, I felt solidatity and kinship with the thousands of protestest--many of whom were undocumented--who are here seeking a better life for themselves and their kids. Let me be clear here: I do not believe anyone has the right to begrudge anyone the desire to better their life. Isn't that the whole "American Dream" business we've all come to believe in?

The tough House measure-- crafted by Wisconsin Rep. James Sensenbrenner, republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee-- has drawn many Hispanics into a political process they had until now avoided, immigrant advocates said. (Now that I think about it, doesn't the name Sensenbrenner sound like a distinctly unAmerican?) And while the event had a decidedly Latin flavor, immigrants from Asia, Africa were also out in force. (see pics.)

A compassionate and creative solution to the immigration "problem" is within reach. I'll remind my American brothers and sisters who believe in building walls and putting social workers who aid immigrants in jail that we are a nation of immigrants. We can do better than that. Anything less would be antithetical to the ethos of our great nation
(Images courtesy of Monique Fruglier)

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