Sunday, September 11, 2016

On the Responsibilities of Citizenship

In the past, this land has been renowned as the melting pot of nations. 

I am sure a lot of our parents, grandparents, and even great grandparents, however, are turning in their graves as my friend and colleague Paul Zoltan writes these cautionary words. The full support of the country our parents loved and clamored for, the USA — which they thought no one could surpass because of the liberty they won at such a hard price — would disappoint them. Our predecessors had to forsake their own countries. They left other safe harbors as well because they thought no one could ever offer them a better chance at safeguarding their liberties as this one true nation, yet that privilege now seems elusive. 

What was protected by the constitution they enthusiastically adopted as their own seems now to be a shard, used arbitrarily to break the most vulnerable, and indeed, many other populations as well. 

But I leave you with Paul's words, because he says it so much better... 

Paul's father's naturalization papers from 1965,
hanging in his immigration law offices




On theResponsibilities of Citizenship
By Paul Zoltan

In the waiting area of my small law practice hangs my father’s naturalization certificate. He took the oath of allegiance and became a United States citizen when I was all of eight days old.

My dad had arrived in this country as a refugee from Hungary six years earlier. The story of his exile begins, improbably, in Belgium. In 1958, two years after Hungary’s tragic rebellion, my father was chosen to represent his nation’s engineering achievements at the World Exposition in Brussels. Though Hungary’s Communist regime had encouraged him and other participants openly to share ideas with engineers from outside the Soviet Bloc, my father did so with trepidation: having grown up a member of Hungary’s landed aristocracy, he belonged to what the Communists called the “suspect class.” His three half-brothers, who’d never fought in the war, were sent off to Soviet work camps as “war criminals,” never to be seen again. When a telegram reached my father in Brussels demanding his immediate return to Budapest, he smelled a rat. Purportedly it came from the university where he taught, but his dean insisted she hadn’t sent it. So my father sought out the British Secret Service.



Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Justice of the Immigration Court & the Power of its Judge King


I went to an Immigration Merits Hearing at the Dallas Courts recently — the last hearing before an individual or family is deported or given asylum  and this young mother and child from Guerrero, Mexico lost, as asylum seekers in the majority of these cases do. Although the judge admitted that the young woman "might be in danger," he said he could do nothing about the consequences such criminal activity effects on these poor folk in the countries from which they are escaping. The actions perpetrated in such countries were individual criminal proceedings, not governmental undertakings, and thus the people who suffered individually were not privy to meriting asylum under our government statutes, according to the judge's ruling.


Ternura, by Oswaldo Guayasamin © 1989
How can these learned men say such a thing? 

As a majority, do these judges have blinders on? Do they not see the massacres committed by the cartels of Mexico, or the maras throughout Central America (that we deported!), gangs that have taken over entire populations, becoming a de facto, criminal and parallel local government, so that people in these countries cannot live in peace? 

These refugees are fleeing for their lives; they are not economic refugees, as the immigration courts so often want to make everyone believe, or as many judges delude themselves into thinking. 

Instead, judges deceive everyone — including themselves — by stating young mothers' stories as filled with discrepancies, their credulity doubtful, and their exaggerations tantamount: how can these "liars" and "illegal aliens" live in our midst, they proclaim? 


Monday, July 4, 2016

IMMIGRANT...

With the presidential race and all it stirs up in our collective pasts as immigrants  because we are all immigrants, even if some of us go as far back as the Mayflower — we will realize that we are all living on borrowed land, and if we learn to live together, we can learn that we are all one, and no borders need divide us. 

Kristian (right) joined a number of other community activists of all ages in Las Vegas 
to street canvass for the Bernie Sanders campaign this past February.

Some of us came later too, not in the early migrations but in more recent relocations, and especially today, we are still arriving, because the forced exodus from other lands  due to politics, warfare, poverty, displacement, or what have you  are all legitimate. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Poemas del destierro / Poems of Exile


Usually I post things about education or immigration.

Sometimes I post things on poetry.

So I thought, why not? 


This is about my father, and it is about his poetry, his beautiful poetry, which I want to translate completely, one day.  So this is the beginning... 



Today is my papi's birthday. He would have been 94 years young today, & he is still with me everyday, in everything I do. Looking at some old books, then, I decided to translate the prologue he wrote to his small book of poetry, of course, dedicated A MI ESPOSA/TO MY WIFE... 


I think this is the small birthday present I can give you, Papi. Little by little I will try to translate your book, and maybe, I will try to republish it, somehow, someday... Happy happy birthday, where ever you are!


Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Losing Paradise... Perder el paraíso


I’ll be off these next couple of weeks, a bit of repose after a long haul. 

Perder el Paraíso (Losing Paradise) by Tomás Sánchez, Cuban painter and engraver
http://tomassanchez.net/eng/work/paintings

But we won the asylum case for a young refugee mom with two children from Honduras, so I think I can take a little break before beginning again on a new case: a mother with two children who escaped from the Guatemala/El Salvador border. Her husband and brother-in-law were killed, and the maras  the gangs  tried to kill her son too, but their dog began to bark and saved him. 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

PAINTING OVER GRAFFITI ON WALLS IS NOT THE SAME AS BLEACHING OUT BLOOD FROM PEOPLE’S COLLECTIVE MEMORY


The recent publication of the second damning GIEI report, first publicized in the New York Times with subsequent coverage on National Public Radio is clear evidence that the Ayotzinapa movement has endured the test of time by staying in the world’s attention almost two years after the forced disappearance of the 43 normalistas. The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts responsible for the GIEI Report (named such for its acronym in Spanish) was created by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights on March 2015 to investigate what happened to the 43 students on September 26, 2014 in Iguala, Guerrero.


Guernica by Pablo Picasso, 1937 Museo Reina SofiaMadridSpain
Guernica warns humanity against the devastation of war & suffering: aren't the forced disappearances of Ayotzinapa an annihalation of the worst sort?


Thursday, May 12, 2016

I Do Not Exist.... UNDOCUMENTED!


I went to see the play Deferred Action this past weekend, a wonderful production about the trials and tribulations of the DACA movement, and the real lives it touches.

I hope the play catches on and begins to make its rounds in other cities: it is defnitely worth seeing.

Erik during the 2011 "I am a DREAM Voter" Campaign 

In any case, this play depicts the ongoing conflict brought on by the onslaught of deportation, and how DACA and the DREAM Act are trying to counter deportation's horrible effects. Millions of young people who were brought to the United States as children are now finding themselves in limbo, or their parents are in the crosshairs. Although the US government wants to deny these young people the only home they have ever known  the United States  they cannot call their home country their own either, because in most cases, they do not even remember it.