Monday, July 15, 2013

Signs & Letters

Last week, I noticed something quite fascinating. While we here have known Astrid Silva and her amazing work for some time, the LA Times finally noticed what she's been up to here in Nevada. And they noticed her interesting "pen pal".

A lover of old movies and the way notes were passed during an earlier era, Silva thought the majority leader, being older, might feel the same way. She wrote her first letter. Then another. And another."I ... have never even stolen a piece of gum from a 7-11, yet I feel as though my forehead says 'FELON.' I long for the day when that stigma will be gone and I can make my parents sacrifices worth it and be an asset to MY country."

As Silva became known around party headquarters, she was asked to introduce the senator at a public event. She was making her way off the stage when he told the audience she was one of his favorite Dreamers. She stopped cold. Reid had just unintentionally outed her as being here illegally.

Her mother became worried that the family would face trouble with the authorities. Her dad took another view. "You have to face it at some point. Just go forward," he told her.

Silva gathered her friends and they formed a Dreamers group, Dream Big Vegas. Every chance she found to put a note into Reid's hand on his visits home, she did.
She realizes how odd she must have seemed to the senator she started calling "abuelito," grandpa.

Astrid and her continuing letters inspired Senator Harry Reid (D-Searchlight) to deliver this moving speech on the Senate floor late last month.

And that's not all. Over the course of time, Senator Reid listened to even more immigrants' stories. And he realized just how serious of a problem this is. He realized the consequences of forcing these people to live life in the shadows of society.

Senator Reid and many of the other US Senators who have been working hard on comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) have been doing so because they've realized the real, human toll of inaction. They know who will pay the price of Congress' failure to act. They know the families who will suffer if CIR falls apart (again) soon.

Yet despite all this, Rep. Joe Heck (R-??!!) doesn't seem to care. The US Senate already passed S 744. Keep this in mind as Rep. Joe Heck attempts to whitewash the House G-O-TEA plan to kill the bill (S 744) by letting the Senate CIR bill languish as the House G-O-TEA clan cherry-picks draconian (and expensive) "border security" provisions to play with.

Just as the Senate completed its long process of passing CIR, the House G-O-TEA gang don't seem to care about any kind of rational governance. Instead, they're looking for a pretty face to cover their ghoulish agenda. As others worry about the human implications of CIR policy, they're only finessing the politics of continual obstruction.

So what will it take for Rep. Heck and other House Republicans to notice their politics is toxic beyond the realm of the G-O-TEA? Last month's Harper poll found that 71% of Nevadans support the principles of S 744. On top of this, a new PPP poll specifically shows that 40% of NV-03 voters are less likely to vote for Rep. Heck if he stands against CIR. Oh, and the latest national Gallup poll shows more Americans favor the Democrats' CIR agenda than what most Republicans are advocating.

Republicans ignore the signs at their own political peril. It remains to be seen if Rep. Heck will have to learn this lesson the hard way. He can only keep living in the past for so much longer before reality bites.

It's just tragic that he and too many other House Republicans fail to notice the letters of Astrid and so many other Americans who are hurt by the failed status quo of our immigration system. They are ultimately the ones who matter most here. And their letters can't be ignored forever, either.

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