"Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?"
Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems, 1992
Each of us is called in a variety of ways to help build a more compassionate world. Maybe at this time, you too are drawn to help migrants, especially those forced to flee their homes for a safe and better life.
I wrote "Rescuing Regina" so you could fall in love with one beautiful immigrant family while also witnessing the casual cruelty wreaked upon them by an immigration system run amok.
Their case is not unusual. As long as the U.S. Congress stays fixated on enforcement instead of addressing the cause of America's immigration problems--our outdated, dysfunctional, and punitive system, families will continue to be destroyed. You need to know that.
Congresswoman Gwen Moore advised us to "shine a bright light" on Regina's case. It's my hope that this light grows brighter with every reader who sees the need and decides to act. So, what can you do? First of all, get to know an immigrant family from your neighborhood, church, school, job. Find a way to welcome them into your life, your circle of friends.
Second, share the good news about them, their cultures, their values, their hopes. In hard times, immigrants--especially people of color--become convenient scapegoats for societal ills. Learn the facts. Dispel the myths. Together, shine the bright light.
- See the Immigration Policy Institute for timely, reliable reports on all immigration issues.
- Investigate immigrant detention at Detention Watch Network and Business of Detention.
- Transactional Records Access Clearing House researches government documents and policies.
- The National Immigration Forum provides daily updates.
Third, gather regularly with like-minded others who share your passion. Take action together. Spread the word, inviting many to phone, e-mail, sign petitions. Join your strong, persistent voices to the many urging full immigration reform that upholds America's deepest moral values.
Immigration reform belongs at the federal level, but while Congress drags its feet, some states have tried handling the problem on their own. Sadly, their solutions are short-sighted, financially unsustainable, and discriminatory, not only failing to make our states safer, but institutionalizing discrimination against entire communities. Stay informed about your state. Voice your objections to your governor, state senators, and district representatives.
Special word to immigrants:
If you live in America but were born in another country, do not to try to negotiate the U.S. immigration system without the help of an immigration attorney or government-licensed legal consultant. For immigration attorneys in your state, see the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). You can also find groups authorized by the government to provide pro bono help.Lastly, please tell others about "Rescuing Regina: The Battle to Save a Friend from Deportation and Death." Hopefully, our combined efforts will swell the ranks of those crying out on behalf of the many Reginas and Davids out there. What a great response that would be!
I'd love to hear what you are doing or planning to do with "your one wild and precious life"? E-mail me (above box) or click on my blog. Thank you!