Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Shadows

Please pardon the lighting in our photos and videos below. The lighting wasn't great at the theater. It felt like we were all caught in the shadows.

In a way, it was actually quite fitting. We had all just seen "Documented". Last night, PLAN hosted a screening at Town Square of Jose Antonio Vargas' autobiographical documentary.

When he was 12, Jose Antonio Vargas was flown to America. He moved in with his grandparents. He was excelling in school. He was integrating into American society.

But when he attempted to obtain a driver's license 4 years later, he discovered a terrible secret. It just happens to be the same secret 11 million other Americans have had to grapple with. It's a secret we prefer to keep in the shadows, even though it's perhaps one of the nation's worst kept secrets.

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Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. He's worked for such prestigious institutions as The Washington Post and Huffington Post. Yet because he's undocumented, politicians like Mitt Romney want him to "self-deport" and "wait in line" for 18 years or longer for something that would likely never come to pass.

After the screening, local immigrants shared their stories. Blanca is about to earn her second bachelor's degree at UNLV, and she's about to start law school. Rafi is already an accomplished organizer, and he's about to earn his bachelor's in psychology at UNLV. Both have lived in Nevada since they were babies. Yet because they came here undocumented, politicians like Rep. Joe Heck (R-Flip-flop) claim they're being "bullied into amnesty" as Americans like Blanca & Rafi simply ask for a chance to succeed in the place they call home.

G-O-TEA politicians like Steve King (R-Crazy) have engaged in demagoguery in their effort to kill comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). They've succeeded in convincing House Speaker John Boehner (R-Coward) to suffocate the bipartisan CIR legislation that the Senate passed nearly a year ago. However, they haven't succeeded in scaring all immigrants back into the shadows. These Americans are sick & tired of the craven games being played on Capitol Hill, and they're simply asking for a chance to stay out of the shadows for good.

A number of G-O-TEA politicians like to talk about "family values". Yet while they talk about "family values", they continue voting to break up millions of American families. They continue threatening American families who simply want to come out of the shadows and live normal lives.

Jared wants a normal life for his family. He just wants to stay with his mother. Why should we force them into the shadows just to try to avoid being torn apart?

11 million Americans have had to endure living in the shadows just survive. Even as they've gone onto build successful careers and strong families, they've had to stay in the shadows to avoid revealing a dangerous secret. Must we continue trying to keep this secret that's already spilled? Must we continue shoving people into the shadows to avoid confronting our own truth? Or is it time to dispense of the shadows, let go of the secret, and finally let these 11 million Americans come into the light?

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