Educators Urge Rep. Meadows and Senator Thom Tillis to support the WNC9
Dear Congressman Meadows and Senator Thom Tillis,
As a public school educator who, over the past decade and a half, has taught and interacted with immigrant families daily – both within and outside of the school setting, I express intense frustration and authentic sorrow over the recent activities imposed upon immigrant families, regionally and nationally. The April raids of the present year were extremely contrary to the spirit of this nation. I appeal to you on the behalf of like-minded educators who beg your beneficent consideration on those in our district who currently face deportation.
Forming an opinion around events and laws, past or present, is a relatively easy task. When we humanize the discussions around these events and laws, the discussions change. Many people come to easy conclusions around undocumented immigrants as nothing more than a topic of debate and dialogue. Such conclusions are often affected when they encounter the objects of those conclusions in a particular context. Educators encounter DREAMers liks Luis Alberto 180 days per school year in classrooms that provide an inside gaze at the “objects” as “people” who, in my experience, often meet teacher expectations well beyond the norm. Public school educators have had the opportunity to personally relate to DREAMers and their families as people with names and faces. I’m doubtful that any other vocation or profession has as clear a view, and yet much of what will happen to these students and families is left to those who have a mere hypothetical or data-based frame of reference, alone.
The immigration issue we confront as a nation is indeed a very complicated one, regardless of which side of the issue one stands on. The legislation of the Founders was centered around a set of ideals. Likewise, the proper administration of our laws require that we take into consideration the spirit of our laws, themselves. The current plight of the victims of the recent raids appears dim but there is an opportunity before us to do what is right in keeping with both our laws and our ideals. To my knowledge, none of the students at my school were directly affected by the April raids, but many of them are visibly fearful and apprehensive by them and it is painful to watch, daily.
Congressman, you are not only obliged to consider the sentiments of those who elected you, but also to lead us back when we depart from the ideals. When we encounter problems, we can and must address those problems with additional laws which will move us closer toward that more perfect union envisioned by those who made allowances for their original laws to be amended for that grand purpose. For those very reasons we urge you to ask ICE to use their discretion on these cases and allow them to be released back into their communities and out of an unfair detention.
Thank you for your consideration.
Michael S. Smith
Social Studies Teacher
McDowell County Schools