Self-righteous overreaction will get you nowhere. True leadership, on the other hand, will take you nearly anywhere you need to go.
Jessica Colotl came to America when she was ten years old. She and her family immigrated here illegally from Mexico. Most of her years in America have been spent in Atlanta, where Jessica earned a 3.8 grade point average in high school and then enrolled at nearby Kennesaw State University. She worked at night to pay her bills. Until she was arrested in late March for a traffic violation that revealed her illegal status.
Local police turned Jessica, 21, over to federal immigration officials. Deportation proceedings were initiated but stopped when Kennesaw State's president intervened, asking for a one-year reprieve for Jessica so she could finish her degree. Jessica also stands accused of lying on her arrest forms at the sheriff's office. Legal authorities say she provided a false address. That issue remains in dispute.
What does not remain in dispute is the remarkable self-righteous overreactions that abound on all sides of the immigration debate now in full bloom.
Self-righteous overreaction describes the stand of those who vehemently insist that Jessica must be deported immediately. They see Jessica as a poster child in their campaign for mass deportation. As if a policy of mass deportation of tens of millions of illegals were even logistically and economically feasible. What was Jessica supposed to do when her parents came here with hope, looking for a better future for their kids? Remain behind in Mexico? Turn 18 and then leave the education and nation she had spent the bulk of her life in? Oh, please.
Jessica's self-righteous critics forget that they each won the birth lottery when they emerged on planet Earth from a womb in America rather than in the Sudan, North Korea, or Venezuela. Humans are humans, and most of us seek opportunity where we can find it. Americans, like me, are most blessed to have been born in the land of the free. I did not earn that. It just arrived on my birth certificate. Self-righteousness is very unbecoming. So a little grace and respect for human dignity never hurt anyone. Compassion is a virtue not a vice.
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