Regardless of the outcome of the coming debates on immigration reform, everyone needs some exposure to immigration law in order to stay abreast of this evolving chapter in our nation's history. Just browsing through the glossary of immigration terms alone can be mind boggling, but imformative at the same time. Learn the paths by which immigrants may seek entry into the United States. If you are as poorly informed as I was when I first researched data for my newest novel, THE IMMIGRANT, I think you will be impressed with the myriad categories and options that are availaable today for residents of foreign countries to attain entry into this country. I was fortunate to have had the invaluable assistance of from a family member who was a former ICE attorney when I wrote THE IMMIGRANT. For that I am eternally grateful.
Many of us have become awestricken by the many immigrant athletes and entertainers that we view and listen to. Who are the examples? I'm sure you will recognize the few that I can name: Dirk Nowitzky, Antonio Banderas, Tony Parker, Hakeem Obajuwon, Martina Navratilova, CelineDion. The list goes on and on. We welcome them all, don't we? They perform for us, they entertain us. We're glad they are here, aren't we? Have you ever wondered by what provision in our immigration policy they get here and work here? Probably not.
What about the worker who paints your house or repairs your roof--the yard man who does your yard--the household employees in the hotel you stayed in--the restaurant worker you encounter when you go out? Probably you know about as much about them as most people: you know they come from somewhere because you can't understand their accent.
I know a restaurant chain owner in Dallas who is very active in the Restaulrant Association of Texas. He told me that 60% of restaurant workers are immigrants. He wouldn't say how many are undocumented. He developed a program for language education and offered it to his employees. The result: he has had illiterate immigrants improve themselves to the extent that they can take over a management position in his restaurant chain. What an opportunity in this country for other employers.
I guess my whole theme here is: let's get away from the "hate" mode and go into the "help our neighbors" mode. I can think of few endeavors that would be more personally rewarding than that whilch my friend in Dallas has accomplished.