Thursday, May 20, 2010

Real world immigration

Immigrants aren't "an issue" -- they are people, as Michelle Obama saw on a visit to a school yesterday. (This very short clip loads slowly. After it says "loading" for a few seconds, click at the bottom left on the partially obscured "play" arrow.)

ABC News’ Karen Travers described the scene:

The student shyly raised her hand and said, "My mom … she says that Barack Obama is taking everybody away that doesn’t have papers."

Mrs. Obama replied: "Yeah, well that's something that we have to work on, right? To make sure that people can be here with the right kind of papers, right? That’s exactly right."

The girl then said quietly, "But my mom doesn't have any …" and trailed off.

Mrs. Obama replied: "Well, we have to work on that. We have to fix that, and everybody's got to work together in Congress to make sure that happens. That’s right."

The exchange highlights what rabid nativists (and the Republican Party) refuse to understand. People in this country without papers are, by and large, not strangers or unconnected to communities here. Just about every perfectly legal Latino-American has undocumented relatives. Millions of U.S. citizen children have undocumented parents or grandparents.

We welcomed people to work. They set down roots. We need to give them a way to get citizenship. They aren't going away, despite however many cops, checkpoints and round-ups we set in motion.

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