A Request

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.


  1. Oh my gosh. I am so glad I'm not in your shoes. They are thinking of passing the same law here that they did in Arizona. And I say this with love, you may seriously need to bring your passport in March. I know that your brother's daughter got pulled over on her way to San Diego with her husband over Christmas break because they thought that they were illegal.

    And to those of you that read this comment: V.A.'s brother, my uncle, served in the Marine's for I think 25 years. And his daughter and her husband, legal citizens, were pulled over because they look Hispanic.

    Though I don't agree that people should get a free ride and I do think that there has to be a better way to show both justice and mercy.

  2. Wow. This is such a weighty issue. I feel strongly that NO ONE should be pulled over based on their ethnicity. That is not freedom...for ANY of us. Where does it end?
    Remember the Japanese Americans that were hauled off to "camps" during WWII just because they were of Japanese decent? Didn't we learn our lesson then? Apparently not.
    So often we are driven by fear, rather than by the desire to do the right thing. There are legitimate arguments on both sides of the issue, but decisions of late seem to be fueled only by fear, anger, prejudice, and a whole host of other poor emotions.
    This is a cloudy issue to be sure. I know you will think long and hard about your letter, and I wish you the best.