Thursday, June 20, 2013

Path to Citizenship? No Creo Yo! Says Ted Cruz

Republican Freshman Senator Ted Cruz is an outspoken Latino voice on the massive immigration bill currently being debated in the senate. The senator is vehemently opposed to  the "path to citizenship"portion of the law, which would award citizenship to millions living in the country unlawfully. As he told fellow minded friend Rush Limbaugh, he doesn't want the US government in the "amnesty" business. 

To be fair, Cruz knows a thing or dos about how proper immigration gets done. It means you do it like his father, 74-year-old Rafael Bienvenido Cruz, did it. In his arguments against PTC, Cruz oft refers to the arduous road his father took to become a prime example of the American dream:
By first getting  Canadian citizenship!

Wait. What?

Yes, Mr Cruz Sr.  didn't quite do things the linear and right way but he didn't need no stikin' amnesty to get him to where he is. However, he waited a good 48 years before becoming a bonifide American Citizen. When asked why? "I don't know. I guess laziness, or — I don't know," he says. See? That is how the stereotypes start. You're giving immigrants legal and otherwise a lazy name.

Mr Rafael Bienvedido Cruz's immigrant experience and life are admirable. No doubt. He's a Cuban exile, who fought along Fidel's guerrilleros to oust Batista from power. "He was caught by Batista's forces, he says, and jailed and beaten before being released. It was 1957, and Cruz decided to get out of Cuba by applying to the University of Texas. Upon being admitted, he adds, he got a four-year student visa at the U.S. Consulate in Havana. "Then the only other thing that I needed was an exit permit from the Batista government," Cruz recalls. "A friend of the family, a lawyer friend of my father, basically bribed a Batista official to stamp my passport with an exit permit."

See? Easy peasy and proper.  Once he got to the states with 100 dollars to his name, he worked as dishwasher. With a combination of student visa, political asylum, marrying a US citizen and becoming a Canadian citizen, Cruz senior's legal immigrant path was anything but linear, which is why it is so curious that senator Cruz is so against Path to Citizenship. "Since he liked to eat seven days a week, he worked seven days a week" Ted Cruz says of his father, "and then ended up getting a job and eventually going on to start a small business and to work towards the American dream.

The range of reasons and circumstances of how immigrants get to this country, are as varied as those who take the journey into the US, looking for a better life. The path to becoming a US citizen is not linear, just as Mr. Cruz's path wasn't. I would venture to say that most immigrants coming to the US want to work. They too like to eat seven days a week, and feed their families seven days a week.  Things have changed since the post Batista revolution era in which senator Cruz's father decided to leave his country of birth. Immigration reform is a necessary conversation because it reflects the reality of who we are as a country. PTC is not the panacea to what ails immigration issues.

Whatever your views are on this discussion, they are valid. Having the discussion divorced from politics and votes might be the only way to come to an honest solution.

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