Friday, June 15, 2007

Would You Make The Cut?

Warning!!! This has nothing to do with things happening to our family....

This was emailed to me by my lovely sister-in-law. I've seen several versions of it in the past and am happy to have a copy in my inbox.

The Citizenship Test...

How well would you do if you took the citizenship test.
24 out of 30 is considered a Passing grade.
Go to the link below. Take the test and be surprised at what we don't know!

I'm sure that George will pass it. He loves history. But, the sad thing is approximatley 96% of high school seniors, and 50% of all individuals over the age of 50 fail this test.

With all the talk about immigration in the news lately I thought it appropriate to point out how lucky we are to have been born within the borders of this country, and not have to earn our citizenship. I spent the two years during grad school working with survivors of political torture seeking asylum in the United States and after graduation ran a program that provided mental health services to refugees that were resettled in the US. I can't tell you how this experience changed my life except to say that every day and every challenge (including my life during Geo's deployment) has been made a bit easier. I have a new respect for the trials and tribulations of immigrant, legal or not. The immigrants that we hear about on the news today are made out to be individuals from economically depressed countries, namely Mexico, who have crossed the border in search of American jobs. Although they make up one catagory of immigrants they are certainly not the only ones.

Many of the people that I worked with had to escape their county of origin because of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. In order to first enter into the county legally they had to provide the appropriate documentation. This documentation, a legal and valid visa, was terribly difficult, and in most cases impossible, to obtain from officials in the country that are responsible for the persecution. In order to escape many forged documents or paid someone to assist them. This was their only chance for survival. Once they enter the country they can begin an application for asylum at any point of entry. In most cases this mean having to change into an orange jumpsuit and be detained in one of the many jails or prisons. In and around Pennsylvania, asylum seekers (including children) without the appropriate documentation are detained in York County Prison in the general population. (And because they're not American's they are not afforded the same rights as Americans...such as interpreters and attorneys). If they know that this will happen they don't start their plea for asylum at the point of entry....the enter the country and try to seek safety in the community until they are able to navigate the (very, very complex) legal system in the US.

I could go on for pages....

This is just another group of individuals that are "sneaking" into the United States. They too will be affected by the immigration reform policies that are currently being battled out. Let us not forget just how lucky we are to have been born in the United State where, for most of us, severe economic depravity, torture, inhuman treatment and persecution are read about in books and heard about on the news. Not everyone can stop it by turning off the television.

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