1. Comprehensive immigration reform is dead.
2. Giving equal educational opportunities to children of color is now a footnote in our nation’s history.
When it came to the immigration bill, hopes were not high, but there were slivers of it by all who advocate for the fair and humane treatment of undocumented immigrants, that this time the immigration bill would receive the 60 votes needed to make it a reality.
As you know by now, only 45 senators voted to end the debate.
Watching C-Span, I just heard Texas Senator John Cornyn take the podium and assure everyone that he will continue to work on this bill “in good faith.”
Ironic, since it was his so-called poison pill amendments that doomed the bill in the first round.
He’s saying that he wants to continue the national dialogue on how to address this situation and find reasonable solutions.
That would be great as long as it’s not a repeat of the infamous field hearings where such interactive discussions that brought Congressional members out into communities were purposely stacked with like-minded constituents.
The very sad part of all this is that no real action will again be taken on this bill until after the 2008 Presidential elections, which means it may not be until 2009 when immigration reform is fully addressed.
In the meantime, we will continue to see immigration raids, immigrant detention facilities being built and filled and local police intimidation tactics like the latest one reported from Panama City, Florida where local law enforcement wanting to root out undocumented immigrants think they have the perfect strategy — they pull up to a construction site and wait to see who runs. Then they chase down those workers who run, arrest them on minor offenses like trespassing or loitering (though they are there working) and take them back to the jails where they call immigration officials to come and pick them up.
No matter how it’s looked at, these kinds of tactics are terrorizing a group of people who don’t deserve this extreme treatment.
And as if the day couldn’t be any worse, the Supreme Court ruled that K-12 public schools cannot use race when assigning children to schools.
Though the ruling was in regard to two specific school choice cases, Seattle, Washington and Louisville, Kentucky, there’s no doubt that more school districts will face this same challenge from parents who hate to be inconvenienced by sending their children to a school outside the neighborhood.
So, how do we achieve true diversity so that children will learn that not all people look like them, live like them, talk like them, have families like them or even have the same opportunities as them?
There should be an effort to implement economic diversity on these campuses.
Children of different socio-economic levels should and need to interact with one another. The exposure benefits both sides:
Children of higher socio-economic means need to see that there exists certain needs within their own communties and hopefully such exposure can lead to developing a necessary empathy and philanthropic spirit.
Children of lower socio-economic means need to see that only through education and persistence they can aspire to have what the parents of their classmates have been able to give their children.
Achieving economic diversity in schools is such an important issue that there is a web site dedicated to tracking it on college campuses.
According to the web site Economic Diversity of Colleges:
Higher education in America has become increasingly stratified, with some institutions enrolling large numbers of students from low-income families, while others primarily serve students from more privileged backgrounds. Because education is essential for upward mobility in American society, it is important for researchers, policy makers, and the public to keep a close eye on this trend.
In many ways, today’s actions in Washington can be seen as a blow to people who are disadvantaged and are striving to become equal players in society — but it’s not the end.
The problems remain and it will take a collective wisdom to achieve true and lasting solutions.