I wrote this to submit to the San Francisco Chronicle. It is now irrelevant.
Spring is a wonderful time to be in California. The air is fresh with rose scents. The stores are brimming with fresh fruit. Those cherries look wonderful don’t they?
But how do you think those cherries got to Safeway? Where did there journey begin and whose hands picked them from the trees? In the heat, for long hours for not so much pay.
That’s right, there are immigrants involved in bringing all kinds of goodies for us to enjoy, fish, fruit, vegetables, flowers to enrich our California experience.
Those same people’s fate is being argued about right now in Washington, D.C. The threats to our future safety that is being painted by some of our Senators is really a threat to the fabric of this country.
Let’s face, the immigration system is broken. Thousands of Filipino families have to wait over 20 years for the reunification of their families. There is a monstrous backlog of citizenship applications which the federal government has not been able to reduce for years. There are many arguments about the border, none of which will be solved by unmanned drones flying over the southern borders. Remember the woman you walked by today at the bus stop with two small children? Imagine her walking across the desert with those two children, trying to give them a better life.
There are already bad laws on the books right now regarding immigration. So we don’t need more bad laws. The current debate in both the House and the Senate should be about good reform not just reform for reforms sake. That’s like shaving your head because you want a new hair do, doesn’t necessarily work well and yes, there is a new ‘do but it is really a “don’t” OK think of a certain pop star.
There are 12 million people, yes, they are people, who live in the US who could become citizens. The path currently set out is similar to the Iron Man Triathalon of bureaucracy and money. Think of the guy who washes your car and think what it would take for him to earn and save $5000 to pay for the application.
How many people do you see each day going to work, to school, the store. How many are here legally? Do you care that they pay the same prices at the gas station as you do? Pay the same for BART or those lovely cherries at the farmer’s market?
Of course this is a nation of laws but how may people did you see today running a red light, jaywalking, or speeding? Can we please get back to being a nation of immigrants, unified in our desire to see our children have a better life?
Support good, humane immigration reform. Ask your federal representatives to act humanely and remember that child at the bus stop who really just wants some chocolate and a hug from her parents.