Angelica Hernandez, who recently graduated as the valedictorian of Arizona State University's Mechanical Engineering School, will be testifying before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee later today. She was not invited to speak by either of Arizona's Senators, Jon Kyl or John McCain, who both probably don't know who she is, or even care for that matter. She was invited to speak before the Committee in support of the Dream Act by Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois.
Even though Angelica Hernandez is smarter than 99.999% of the sand rats and other hillbilly vermin who live in Arizona, she stands a very real chance of being deported because she is - through no fault or machinations of her own - "undocumented." The valedictorian of ASU's Mechanical Engineering School might have to take her intellectual gifts and abilities south of the border while people like J.T. Ready, Russell Pearce, and Joe Arpaio get to remain in Arizona proudly waving their flags of intolerance.
The Dream Act is proposed legislation that would create an opportunity for "illegal" immigrants who came to the United States as children to obtain permanent residency, as long as they continue on to college or military service. These children had no say where their parents moved them, but now they are established in communities and schools with friends and social lives - and now they want the same opportunities that all of their friends who reside here "legally" have. They want to be able to go to college or the military and not have to worry about being sent back into a country and a culture that they literally never knew.
The Dream Act has been debated in Congress before and failed due to pressure from bigoted and nativist groups like the Tea Party. This week Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey is introducing a comprehensive immigration reform package that will again include the Dream Act.
There are an estimated 11 million "illegal" immigrants in this country, many of whom arrived here as children. Those young people are just as American as the rest of us in every real sense of the word, and they deserve to be treated with acceptance and respect. From a Christian perspective this is a no-brainer - these children should be treated as we would expect our own children to be treated. It is also a no-brainer from an economic perspective - we need people like Angelica Hernandez to help insure our successful future in the global marketplace.
Let's not mortgage our future by being stampeded by a bunch of racist crackpots. Let's do the right thing by these young people and give them permanent residency. It would be the best possible outcome for them and for us.
Angelica, you rock!