Friday, May 13, 2011

Historic Ruling?

I am thrilled to have learned yesterday that a juvenile court judge in the State of Utah made a positive ruling in the case of a teenage boy who has lived in this country without proper papers since he was five years.  The ruling clears the way for the young man to gain legal resident status in the U.S.  You can read about this young man's situation by  clicking on this link.   The article was published in Standard-Examiner in Ogden, Utah this past weekend.   
This historic ruling is great news to all of us who work or have worked with this special population of students.  It is, in my opinion, the right decision that brings hope and justice to one kid.  One can only hope that the ruling is setting a positive precedent for the future.
My Personal Connections and Views on Working with Immigrant Children
As many of you know, I have worked for many years as teacher to those students for whom English is not the home language.  This area of the educational world has long been my passion.  I have worked with students who have come to this country with papers,  and with those who have come without papers.  I never knew for sure the legal status of my students, not did I care about their legal status.  In fact, as teacher in the public school system I was barred from inquiring about my students' legal status because of the Supreme Court Ruling Plyer vs. Doe 1982.  I am often shocked to find out how much misinformation there is out there in regard to the rights of immigrant students when it comes to public education.  Plyer vs. Doe clearly stated the rights of these students when it ruled:  "public schools were prohibited from denying immigrant students access to a public education. The Court stated that undocumented children have the same right to a free public education as U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Undocumented immigrant students are obligated, as are all other students, to attend school until they reach the age mandated by state law."
Now, the Dream Act is being addressed in the news.  The sad thing about working with students who may be undocumented is that they find themselves in a situation that they did not create.  They are brought to this country with or without proper papers through no fault of their own.  Many work hard in school, learn a new language, integrate into a new culture, and then are denied access to state institutions of higher learning as residents of the state in which they may have resided for years.  They are caught in some sort of legal and cultural limbo as they progress into adulthood.  

Those of us who work with this population come to deeply love and respect these students.  We see them vilified in the public sector through no fault of their own.  We see them subjected to racial profiling, and other forms of subtle and not so subtle forms of discrimination and prejudice.  Frankly, it is heartbreaking and discouraging to hear and read some of the prejudicial emails that circulate about this population of families that now live in our country.

I am all for legal means of coming to this country.  I am not in support of punishing the innocent victims who are undocumented because of the decisions of their parents.  To be honest with you, I have worked with gang members whose families have been in this country for generations.  I have also worked with immigrant families.  There is a wide divide between these two populations.  
I am personally thrilled to hear that one young undocumented student may have a more positive future because of the ruling of this juvenile court judge in Utah.  Congratulations to all concerned.

13 comments:

Charlene said...

I am disappointed with peolpe who fear these children. By accident of birth most are citizens and thereby have opportunities most people in the world do now. America is its immigrants.

Arkansas Patti said...

Totally and completely agree with you. All who aren't American Indians(and they may have come from Siberia) are immigrants. How quickly we forget.

Lynilu said...

I'm with you. I know who was illegal because of an unscrupulous relative who more or less tricked her into not renewing her visa on time (so she had control over the girl). Her choice was to go home and ever return or stay and try to find a way to become legal. She stayed and became legal .... when she married my son 18 years ago. She worked very hard at cleaning and nanny positions, paid HER OWN WAY through college. She now has a master's degree, teaches middle schoolers and college kids, and she did this without incurring any debt. After my son married her, he helped her, of course. My point is, she has given back to us all, at her own expense.

I loathe that people make many generalizations and negative assumptions about immigrants, legal or otherwise. Not only did she work really hard to pay her way, doing some jobs that some of us wouldn't, but she has paid taxes along the way, is helping our young people to become more educated, and she is a US citizen! Seriously, most immigrants are good people and bring some wonderful culture to our melting pot society. Let's hold them up, not put them down!

Thanks. Great post, and obviously, close to my heart. :)

DJan said...

Children who are brought here, without any crime, they need to be allowed to become citizens. I truly believe anything else is not true to our country's core values. Congratulations to this young person.

Joanne said...

I have a feeling that this young man will grow up to do great things. great post. Blessings, Joanne

Kay said...

Isaac Jr. is lucky to have people who are trying to advise and help him. Not every one is so lucky. I really admire the heart you put into your teaching. This is exactly what children need, a teacher in their corner. Thank you for all your hard work and caring, Sally.

troutbirder said...

Well said. Thanks for the update. :)

Jeanie said...

THREE CHEERS! For the ruling and for you, because it is advocates like you who can make such a positive statement and understand from a personal view that will ultimately help those who must make the hard decisions understand. I'm so glad.

Beth said...

I am so happy for Issac Jr. Bless you for being such a caring person.

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment.

Beth

rosaria said...

Well put. Glad to know Utah is rectifying a very hot and difficult situatio. I can't understand the propaganda machine against immigrants. Without the work of immigrants, our life style would cost us a whole lot more. They are cheap labor in many instances, willing to do work nobody else is willing to do.

What we need to do is give long time residents a way to work toward legal status.

#1Nana said...

A very timely post. As our school budgets get tighter, we often see a rise in anti-immigrant chatter. In my district our most fragile populations are frequently the first targeted by the public, and sometimes by administration, for cuts. Second language programs and special education services are often viewed as extras that should be eliminated so that resources can be used for "our students." It's a new world...these kids are our students and they all deserve a free and appropriate education. Nice job of putting the personal spin on an emotional issue.

KleinsteMotte said...

I agree with you. Children need voice when they are put in situations for which they little control. They were moved by their parents. They had to come illegal or not. The parents put them in an unfair situation.

Mare said...

One of my favorite songs [sung by the Carpenters] is "Bless the Beasts and the Children". They have no voice....They have no choice. Kudos to you for teaching kids with love and respect regardless of their status/