Para mis amigos Latinos--bienvenidos. I've changed the little language things on my blog to Spanish. Why? I'm glad you asked . . .
Tonight, I read this post over on the blog Alien & Sedition. The hatred comes off those comments like steam from a radiator. I've been following the immigration reform debates, and I've even asked Craig to talk about the LDS view on immigration. And why? The first Mastens allegedly came over sometime in the 1680s, and I'm 1/8 Native American. If anybody has a claim on being American, 'tis I. So why am I so concerned?
My junior year in high school, we read two books that changed my life and my way of thinking. First, we read Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, then we read John Howard Griffin's Black Like Me. These two books opened my eyes to the reality of hatred. People really do hate other people. I had never experienced anything like that before. I knew then that I wanted to do something to fight the good fight and to fight against hate, but I never knew how. Later, in college, I read John Grisham's The Street Lawyer and thought I could fight hatred by being a Legal Aid lawyer. Then I worked for a family lawyer in Brownwood, Texas. There, I discovered that people just plain need help getting through our legal system. While I was working there, my boss had my research some immigration issues, and I began discovering how insane our immigration system is.
Did you know, for example, that some family-based visa petitions by Filipinos are backlogged all the way back to 1985? Twenty-two years ago, mi amigo Jose el Filipino put in his visa application. He's still waiting on an answer. And did you know that the visa is just the first step? Yes, in fact, a visa only gives you permission to travel to a port of entry. Then you have to get a "status" so that you can stay in America for any period of time. Now imagine that you don't have the benefit of speaking English (the language all these laws and regulations are written in), nor do you have the benefit of the stellar* American educational system.
Maybe it doesn't make your heart burn, but it does mine.
I can't help wondering: have I stumbled upon my "destiny"?
*At least stellar in the sense that everybody gets to go to school.