There are currently 12 million adults that are undocumented here in the United States; two million of those are children. I confess that my heart sinks and hurts every time I see people carrying signs about building walls to keep people out–signs that read: Real Americans Build Walls to Protect America. Really? Protect America from what? I always wonder if these people, people I consider to be racist, ever think about Native Americans. Can you imagine if all of the Native peoples of America said, “we need to build a wall to keep out all of those damn European immigrants?” I also worry about how do we care for the undocumented youth that are here.
A friend of mine here in Portland also worries about the undocumented youth here in the United States and she and her partner are doing something about it. Rebecca is the Executive Director of Student Alliance Project and she and her partner Anne produced a documentary called Papers. I decided to write about Papers because it fits perfectly into the theme of social justice for TSM and because the story of Jorge was particularly moving. Often times, children are brought to the United States when they are infants and this is the only country they know, yet they have no where to go once they graduate from high school. The state of Texas in 1975 passed legislation that prevented undocumented youth from attending school. In 1982, the US Supreme Court found this legislation unconstitutional. Today, Texas was the first and is one of the only states that does not charge out of state or out of country tuition for undocumented youth to attend university in their home state. To order your dvd copy of Papers, contact Rebecca. For those of you that are teachers, you will definitely want to have a copy of this movie. If you are a student, or just someone that wants to help eradicate racism and give voice to undocumented youth, please contact me.