January 17, 2018

Deportations, DACA at Risk, and Inspirational Celebrations of MLK Day

Heart-wrenching deportations continue to grab headlines. Jorge Garcia was brought to the United States thirty years ago at the age of ten. Despite having no criminal record, Jorge was summarily deported this week to Mexico. Jorge has been married to Cindy Garcia, an American citizen, for fifteen years and the couple have two young children. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) refused to exercise its discretion to allow Jorge to stay in America. Cindy has vowed to fight for her husband’s return but commentators have suggested that could take years. The Garcias are but one in a long list of families that have been separated by ICE policies. Even Senator Lindsey Graham noted that Jorge’s case was “something that we need to look at.”  Ironically, Jorge was too old to qualify for protection under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals).

And speaking of DACA . . .  A fix for our 700,000-800,000 DACA dreamers, many of whom currently serve in our military, still has not been found. Here too, Senator Graham has been in the spotlight. Graham, a Republican, and Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat, joined together to craft a bi-partisan bill to ensure that the DACA dreamers would be protected against deportation. While many view this issue as largely affecting just Latinos, DACA dreamers hardly stand alone. Support has been universal and come from many other groups. Just today, 82 rabbis and Jewish activists waited patiently as they were arrested on Capitol Hill while protesting for immediate action to protect DACA recipients. When asked why, many of the Jewish protestors explained that the motivation was their own collective history and journey as immigrants, which made fighting for current immigrants the “right thing to do.” Barbara Weinstein, an associate director for the Religious Action Center, further explained that “We as Jews know the experience of being immigrants. And as Americans, we’re deeply aware of our history as a nation of immigrants, and that throughout that history immigrants have been a source of strength for this county.” #HERETOSTAY  

Monday marked Martin Luther King Jr., Day, commemorating the achievements and sacrifices of the great civil rights leader. This is a particularly special year as the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s death is fast approaching (April 4). Basketball star Lebron James honored Dr. King in an elegant call for unity, noting “[t]oday is a great day for people to realize how America was built and how we all have to stand united in order to be one.” And in Dallas, Texas, Wesley Trent Stoker, a 9-year-old white boy, paid homage to Dr. King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech by calling for unity and declaring, “I may not look like Dr. King, but I believe like Dr. King.” Wesley gave his speech at an annual MLK oratory competition. Wesley also pointed out that – like Dr. King – he too was a minister’s son. In an interfaith video, Wesley’s father, Reverend Andy Stoker, previously had urged communities to come together to fight bigotry, noting that “we’re [all] in this together.”  Wesley was awarded first-place in the annual competition, which was sponsored by a law firm.      

See, lawyers can do good things! And/or motivate others to do the same. Want to get involved? Stay tuned for info about Loyola’s upcoming Social Justice Open House. . .