Ignorance and Immigration Reform

By Claudia Longo

Part of the problem with immigration is the lack of understanding of how broken the system is. I have seen tons of comments on social media or in real life of people who are not directly affected by the issue (although I have to confess I have seen some people very close to the issue clueless too) who have no idea what they are talking about, making comments and giving their opinion on the problem of immigration and what would be the perfect solution to an extremely complicated system by saying things like “why don’t they come the right way?” “Go back home and come back legally” “illegals are taking our jobs” “they don’t want to adjust to our country” “deport them all”. 

This are all misconceptions growing in people’s minds like bad weeds taking over reality without even trying to inform themselves of the facts behind their comments.
The truth is, the system is so complicated and obsolete, that has created the largest “sub class” of citizens living and working in the country since the dark years of slavery and until people understand the issue well enough to wanting to change it, we will continue to have this mess of a system.

So instead of correcting and trying to convince people with facts that the best economic and moral thing to do for our country is to reform our immigration system, politicians on the right side of the isle are capitalizing that ignorance and turning it into votes; of course this tactic is not new nor a crime but by knowingly letting lies and myths turn into shape , they are being responsible and contributing to the problem. 

When some Republican candidates say things like “illegals are taking jobs from U.S. citizens” , when they say they will end birthright citizenship, build walls and send 11 million people all back home, (including their U.S. Born citizen children) even though home is here now, what they are really saying is “vote for me even if what I’m promising is impossible to do” and that is as immoral as keeping 11 million under the rug while taking their tax money, their talent and their children who are the future of this nation.

We were very close to find a solution in 2013 when the Senate passed an Immigration Reform bill that had bipartisan support, which Speaker John Boehner refused to bring up for a vote. But the problem has not gone away and 11 million people are still living in limbo.

I’m not scared or worried about Trump or Carson or even Rubio’s electoral promises  (Rubio now saying he will end DACA ,the program for young immigrants brought to the country as kids), I’m scared of ignorance being the voice in politics and no one trying to stop it.

The Importance Of Voting

Voting is the cornerstone of a democracy but sadly far too few people vote.

There remains wide gaps between those who do vote which undermines representative democracy.

   For the past three decades voters have been disproportionately of higher income, older or more partisan in their interests. Parallel to participation gaps are widening gaps in wealth, reduced opportunity for youth and frustration with the polarization in politics. How would our world be different if everyone participated?

Much of this gap is due to communities left uninformed about elections.

There are large gaps in who gets contacted in an election campaign. Millions of Americans, especially those served by the nonprofit sector, report not being reached by traditional campaign tactics like a phone bank.

Not only so, voter participation is a learned activity.

A fact that stands out in the literature is the powerful influence of families in voter and civic participation. As service providers and advocates, we can be too. New voters need our help finding their poll, a number to call for help, learning their voting options and understanding what’s on the ballot or the impact of this election on the issues they care about. It’s also true that communities who have been traditionally underrepresented in the democratic process often face significant barriers to voting, both discriminatory and inadvertent (we move a lot). It is these people who are least likely to understand the process that we serve.

A functioning Democracy is critical to our Nonprofit Goals and Civic Missions.

The independent sector depends as much as any on good government and fair and open elections. Democracy is something we can’t take for granted. It needs our help. Nonprofits are more likely to thrive in an environment where government is held in higher esteem and people are more likely to participate in and trust democracy.

But why vote?
Voting matters both to the health of the American political system and to the people who participate in it.

Who Votes Counts.

Elected officials know who votes.
If your community is turning out well below other neighborhoods, elected officials will pay less attention, make fewer appearances and fewer appeals to your neighborhoods. Who votes has a powerful impact on public policy and government. Your constituents have policy and political concerns – whether the direction of an issue or priorities of public budgets – that won’t be heard if they don’t vote.

Voting also carries Benefits to those who Participate in it.

People who vote are associated with a host of positive civic, health and social factors.
Among the most studied are that voters are known to be more engaged in other activities like volunteering or contacting their election official. They are more informed about local affairs and a contributor to their neighborhood’s “social capital.” Voters live in communities where there is more trust and people have contact with their neighbors. They are more concerned about their communities and peers and have a greater sense of their ability to impact the world around them.
While these are correlations that work both ways, voting is an important part.
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