I had a most unusual request today. Right before lunch a student came into the room and asked if I would do a favor for her. I'm thinking, 'ah, yes, another letter of recommendation'. In a way, her request was for a letter of recommendation but not for admittance to a university nor for consideration for a scholarship. No, her request was much weightier.
With nervousness in her voice, tears in her eyes and shaking hands she asked if I would write a letter to the government explaining what the affects would be to her and her brother should her mother be deported. For a moment I was speechless. Then the magnitude of her trepidation in making her request hit me like a ton of bricks. How difficult it must have been for her to muster up the courage to make such a request. By doing so, she was opening her soul, her family, her fears, her everything to me.
I don't know how you feel about the immigration issues that face this nation, I don't even know how I feel. As an immigrant and now a naturalized citizen, I sometimes feel that all immigrants need to follow the letter of the law and come here through all legal channels. At other times I see the bureaucracy that's involved and the years, yes years, involved in completing the process that I understand the urgency some feel to leave their squalid conditions.
Contrary to what some think, the undocumented immigrants that I know are hard working, decent individuals. Their most passionate desire is for a better place for themselves and their families. I realize that the face of the undocumented immigrant the media most often presents is that of a Hispanic but there are also those who are fair skinned, blonde and able to speak English but with a British accent. Let's not overlook the East Indian or the African or the Russian.
As you can see, this is a hot topic for me. Here in lies my problem. I'm going to honor my student's request and write a letter on her behalf. However, I don't know if I can do it in a manner that will bring the desired result without causing the wrath of ICE to rain down on me. I tend to be rather bold when I climb up on one of my soapboxes.