A tale of two families – one formed by bringing a little girl to the US from the orphanage in Kazakhstan where she spent the first 18 months of her life, the other torn apart by an insane deportation policy tearing families apart.
Where is the “Family Values” party? Fighting to deport millions of people who’d like nothing more than to come out of the shadows and be productive members of American society.
As Alison and I celebrate our 14th “Forever Day” this weekend, I’m overjoyed that millions of others no longer have to fear being torn away from their families and the only homes they’ve ever knows – at least for the next few years. Of course, if the Republicans get their way, those millions of families will be split up, with parents taken from their children and deported.
In June of 2011, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas outed himself as an undocumented immigrant with a gripping and heart-wrenching story in the NY Times Magazine.
In addition to telling his own story, he shone a spotlight on the DREAMers – millions of others who, like him, were brought (or sent) to the US as children by parents who only wanted a better life for their kids.
Last year I read about four students who walked from Miami to Washington to lobby for the Dream Act, a nearly decade-old immigration bill that would provide a path to legal permanent residency for young people who have been educated in this country. At the risk of deportation — the Obama administration has deported almost 800,000 people in the last two years — they are speaking out. Their courage has inspired me.
There are believed to be 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. We’re not always who you think we are. Some pick your strawberries or care for your children. Some are in high school or college. And some, it turns out, write news articles you might read. I grew up here. This is my home. Yet even though I think of myself as an American and consider America my country, my country doesn’t think of me as one of its own.
These are human beings who would be relegated to a life of strife and poverty if they were to remain in their native countries, much as my daughter would have been. Yes, this hits very close to home.
But the party of “family values” doesn’t seem to understand that. Just take a look at how some of them reacted to the president’s speech, starting with Bill O’Reilly and Charles Krauthammer at Faux News.
Or even more sickening, O’Reilly’s holier-than-thou pronouncement to the afore-mentioned Jose Antonio Vargas that “you don’t have an entitlement to be here.”
Excuse me while I puke.
And then, of course, the Congressional Republicans, like Sen. Tom Coburn who predicted anarchy and violence in the streets if the president did what both George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan did, or Speaker of the House John Boehner promising to fight him “tooth and nail” on this – and everything else, are showing their true colors.
I say go for it. Let them keep talking about what a horrible thing the president is doing by showing compassion toward the immigrants who want to make better lives here. And bring on 2016!
Today is Friday, and after a week like this, we could all use a weekend. To usher it in, we went back to 1996 for my interview with Tim and Neil Finn – The Finn Brothers at KSCA fm101.9 in Los Angeles.
Tim Finn fronted one of New Zealand’s most popular bands, Split Enz, back in the late 70s and early 80s, In its later days, Tim Finn’s younger brother Neil joined in, eventually taking over the band’s leadership after Tim departed. Split Enz sort of morphed into Crowded House, which officially broke up only months before Neil and Tim released the Finn Brothers album they joined me in the studio to promote that morning in 1996.
And with that, happy weekend. I’ll be back Monday with the latest news, information and Howie Klein too, radio or not!