He called me a couple of days ago.
Somehow he had found his way to this page and to my posts on immigration.
More particularly, he was intrigued by our discussion of the "Dream Act," pending legislation that would open a way for the undocumented children of undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States so long as they continued their education or joined the U. S. Armed Forces and exhibited the traits of "good moral character."
He seemed eager to tell his story and that of his family.
He had three children, all of whom came to the U. S. years ago when he and his wife over-stayed their work permits. They had lived without proper documentation for well over a decade.
His oldest son is a graduate of Texas A & M University, but cannot work because he has no documentation. The other two children are great students, the youngest he characterized as "the smartest of all."
"I don't want my children to have to live like I have. I tell them that they are living in paradise without the ability to really be involved," he said.
Obviously, he was wanting to see the Dream Act passed into law so that his children could stay in the country and make their contributions to our national life.
Talking to him a couple of realizations washed over me.
First, the responsibility for the situation facing this man and his family is his, but only in part. All along the way in his American journey, opportunity after opportunity to apprehend, detain and deport this family were not just missed, they were intentionally ignored by employers and various federal officials. This man and his family were allowed--better, they were encouraged--to stay, to work and to contribute.
Second, why on earth would we not want a man and a family like this one to stay in our country?
We need the Dream Act and we need comprehensive immigration reform.
Surely we are smart enough to ignore the hatred and just do the right thing for everyone involved.