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Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Badge of Honor

Steve and Vanessa Lopez

February 25th is now a day of pride in the Lopez family, because it is the day that our daughter, Shelby, publicly became an activist.

Shelby joined us for Immigration Action Night in Annapolis, Maryland We met with Delegates Paul Stull and Donald Elliott, we got trailed by some minute men, and then we attended a rally.

Shelby was quoted in the Frederick News Post (FNP). But the peace de resistance was that she received her first disparaging comment on the FNP blog insinuating that she hooked school to attend Immigration Action NIGHT. She may be a little teenager, but I know few adults that have her ability to understanding the complexities of controversial issues, and even fewer who possess the ability to discuss these issues based on facts.

Immigration is an almost perfect issue for the Republican party. It diverts attention away from important issues like Iraq and the U.S.'s budget deficit; and the people it targets can't vote in U.S. elections. However, the anti-immigration faction made the mistake of thinking that those of us who are here legally and US citizens wouldn't have a problem with them scapegoating and bullying undocumented immigrants.

I've lost track of the numerous times that I've heard or read if you are here legally you don't have anything to worry about. Tell that to Pedro Guzman, a U.S. citizen who was deported to Tijuana, Mexicó by the Los Angels County Sheriff's Department:,0,4185060.story.

Some other words of comfort are this is about criminal aliens, if you are not committing a crime you do not have anything to worry about. Oh really? Tell that to Manuel Ortega Melendres, a Mexican national, who has filed a lawsuit against the Maricopa, Arizona's Sheriff's Department alleging that he was detained for nine hours without being charged: Mr. Ortega's suit alleges that an Immigration Customs Enforcement Officer reviewed Mr. Ortega's Visa, and other documents; said the documents were good and that Mr. Ortega was free to go.

Frankly, it is hypocritical to have government officials going on about how those "illegals" don't respect the rule of law, when our government violates international law whenever it suits its purpose. Sorry, but I didn't sneak over the border yesterday, and I'm not buying the justifications of my government officials. When I first became involved in the immigration debate, I thought a lot of the people sponsoring anti-immigration proposals just didn't have all the facts. Today, I am convinced that the bigger issue is our country's euro centrism, not "illegal" immigrantion.

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