Knowladge Is Power
Posted by bmac on December 19, 2007
This story about high school students learning about how tough it is for Latino immigrants is exactly why our schools are lost.
POWELL — The students had a role-play project: assume a Latino identity, build an imaginary life in your home country and develop a workable plan to immigrate to the United States.
Ok, starts off good.
Try it legally, Erica Vieyra told her 40 senior Spanish students at Olentangy Liberty High School. Fill out the correct documents, follow the proper steps. And then, after they spent days completing the actual paperwork from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, she took out her red ink pad and stamped a big, fat DENIED across every request.
Ah! Here we go! Time to teach these kids just how really mean big Mr. America is! Automatic denial. After DAYS spent filling out forms. Wow, DAYS wasted trying to immigrate to a country. What could possibly be meaner than wasting DAYS of someones time to become a citizen of a whole new country? Man, what assholes we are.
Now, she told the students, come illegally. Forge your documents, find a way across the border. Then, research real ads and find a place to live in Columbus. Figure out what it would cost, how to get food. Plan how to survive.
After three weeks of work, the students presented their projects yesterday and discussed their conclusions. Most said it was a grueling experience to even pretend to walk in an immigrant’s shoes.
“I can’t begin to fathom how they can survive here,” said Yana Lyon, 17. “Everywhere you turn if you try to become legal or help yourself, there’s a roadblock.”
For her project, Yana assumed the identity of 28-year-old single mother Margarita Sola, a barmaid in Tijuana, Mexico. Yana had Margarita stay at a Columbus Knights Inn until she found a $7.50-an-hour job at Chipotle. Eventually, she rented a Town Street apartment for $320 a month because it was close to a bus stop. She quickly found a man to marry to gain legal residency.
You know how they should have run this little exercise to teach these kids about Latin immigrants?
First, have the kids live in the backyard of their house in a plywood shack for at least 1 year, so they can experience the changing of the seasons without heat or A/C, or carpet or cable TV.
Next, while living in the plywood shack, they have to get a backbreaking job, for about 10-15 hours a day, for $7.00. $7.00 a day. No insurance, no surfin’ the net at lunch. Transportation to the job would be in the back of a pick-up truck with about 15 other guys.
For dinner, they can find exciting new ways to prepare things like cows tongue and intestines, because on $7.00 a day, In-n-Out burger ain’t gonna be happening.
Then, as soon as they have enough money saved from their $7.00 a day,( and they shouldn’t be able to graduate until they save enough) they can contact a coyote, who will provide them with all the necessary documentation to cross the border. (about $2000) This part is easy.
After all this, I think staying at the Columbus Knights Inn, and working for $7.50 an hour at Chipotle ain’t gonna seem so bad. In fact, I bet they’d love it.
We certainly wouldn’t want to teach the super privalaged American children that $7.50/hr. at Chipotles is hardly an insufferable indignity we force upon Latin immigrants who probably consider that job and life in America a considerable improvement on what they came from.
No, we wouldn’t want to do that.