Monday, March 22, 2010

The other protest in Washington Sunday

Posted By on Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 11:59 AM

I know it's kind of hard to believe, what with all the shouting, but there are other issues going on in our country that need our attention besides health care reform. Here's one: Immigration reform.

In great news, North Carolina's community college administrators will stop being bigots and allow undocumented immigrants to attend class. Let's not pretend this is an act of altruism or piety, however, it's about money -- plain and simple.

Tony Asion, executive director of El Pueblo, aptly summed up a final vote Friday by the N.C. Board of Community Colleges to admit illegal immigrants to the state's 58 campuses:

"A no brainer," he said.

Here's why. The vote reopens the doors of community colleges to those undocumented students who otherwise qualify for admission and who can afford the hefty out-of-state tuition costs. The move not only provides the post-secondary training these students need to become productive workers who contribute to the N.C. economy, it does so at no cost to the state.

Actually, the state could make money off the move since out-of-state tuition exceeds the actual community colleges' costs to educate those students.

Read the rest of this Charlotte Observer article here.

Meanwhile, in Washington yesterday, while the crowd outside of the White House was busy hurling insults (Did you hear they spit on famed Civil Right's Activist John Lewis, who also happens to be one of Georgia's representatives, and called him a nigger? They did.), another protest was underway in our nation's capital. This one was focused on immigration reform, another hot-topic President Obama made promises about on the campaign trail.

The current state of immigration regulation in our country is dehumanizing, brutal and outmoded. Immigrants know that. Our representatives in Washington -- even extreme bigots like our very own Rep. Sue Myrick -- know that. Our country needs immigrants to become legal citizens more than we need to waste law enforcement resources hunting them down like animals, just to rip apart their families and deport their bread winners.

You see, like the rest of us, undocumented workers are just trying to take care of their families. Most of them aren't, as some politicians and pundits attempt to portray them, criminals or misfits trying to take advantage of the system. Most are just scraping by, doing their best to survive in already difficult times.

It's time we stop ignoring undocumented workers' civil rights and deal with immigration reform in a mature, civilized way.

Frustrated with the lack of action to overhaul the country's immigration system, tens of thousands of demonstrators rallied on the National Mall and marched through the streets of the capital Sunday, waving American flags and holding homemade signs in English and Spanish.Supporters traveled from around the country in hopes the rally would re-energize Congress to take up the volatile issue. Some lawmakers oppose any attempt to help an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants become U.S. citizens while others insist on stronger border controls first.

President Barack Obama, who promised to make overhauling the immigration system a top priority in his first year, sought to reassure those at the rally with a video message presented on giant screens at the National Mall. The president said he was committed to working with Congress this year on a comprehensive bill to fix a "broken immigration system."

Obama said problems include families being torn apart, employers gaming the system and police officers struggling to keep communities safe.

People held signs with slogans such as, "You need us as much as we need you," and "No Human Being is Illegal." Many waved American flags, and a few also carried the banners of their countries of origin.

Read the rest of this Associated Press article, by Sarah Karush, here.

Here's what the protest looked like:

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