Posts Tagged ‘murali bashyam’

What's so crazy about immigration reform?

October 26th, 2010
posted by at 4:57 pm

By, Murali Bashyam, Esq.

Define insanity.

Albert Einstein once said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.

So what does Einstein’s definition of insanity have to do with immigration?

In an immigration-related article Atlanta Immigration Examiner, Inger Eberhart, in all of her infinite immigration wisdom, tries to make the point that a recent Comprehensive Immigration Reform bill (CIR)(HR 4321) introduced in the House of Representatives is exactly like Ronald Reagan’s ‘failed’ 1986 amnesty, and therefore the push for immigration reform is insane.

1986 Amnesty

In 1986, amnesty was granted to approximately 2.7 million illegal aliens.  By 1997, the illegal alien population increased to over 5 million according to the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS).

She says:

Today, there are 12-20 million illegal aliens in the US.  Clearly, Amnesty 2010 (or today’s term, Comprehensive Immigration Reform) does not stop illegal immigration, it only increases it.

The difference between 1986 and 2010 Comprehensive Immigration Reform

None of the CIR bills introduced in Congress resemble Reagan’s 1986 amnesty.  What Reagan did was a true amnesty – he granted something very close to Lawful Permanent Resident (“green card”) status to illegal aliens who met certain requirements.  These CIR bills do not grant automatic ‘green card’ status to anyone.  Instead, they create a separate immigration status for illegal aliens who qualify.  After that, these aliens will have to go through the long and cumbersome “green card” process just like any other immigrant who wants to live in the United States.

The author of the immigration article referred to earlier, indirectly blames the 1986 amnesty for the increased numbers of illegal aliens in the United States.  She also says that CIR will not stop illegal immigration.

The amnesty in 1986 did not singularly play a role in increasing illegal immigration.  There are many factors that contribute to illegal immigration, including enforcement, country conditions and the big one – ECONOMY.

As our country currently experiences what some say is the worst recession since the Great Depression, fewer illegal immigrants are coming to the U.S. and, in fact, more are going home.

CIR should not be confused with stopping illegal immigration.  Stopping illegal immigration is related to enforcement.  We can build the Great Wall of China across our southern border and basically shut down illegal immigration from Mexico, but that does not impact the illegal immigrants who are already in the U.S.

Call us crazy, but we will continue to do what we can to help immigrants achieve the American dream day in and day out, because they have families, jobs and they contribute to our economy.  Many are young children who have grown up here and call America home.

Comprehensive Immigration Reform directly affects all of them.  It affects all of us. We don’t think that is insane.

Einstein Insanity Quote

Einstein's Definition of Insanity

You Can Never Outgrow Your Need For Purpose

August 13th, 2010
posted by at 4:47 pm

As you get older, it sometimes seems that there are fewer things to learn. No more school. You know your job like the back of your hand. You play the same games on the computer.

Well, I recently had an opportunity that taught me much about life outside the United States. And it opened my eyes to the reality that there is SO much I still don’t know.

Murali and I recently returned from a trip to Kenya. Besides the safari – which was absolutely fantastic – we spent some time visiting with people involved in projects we’ve partnered with as part of the non-profit that we built, Friends Unite.

We went to Kibera, outside Nairobi, which is one of the largest slums in the world. There we met with officials from Carolina for Kibera. This UNC Global initiative, is a non-profit organization that has set an exemplary model for how just a few people can create astounding change for those in need.

They showed us some of their youth programs, and then took us to the medical center they started. It has since been taken over somewhat by a larger non-profit, but that is exactly what we’d like to do – start programs that are so successful they become self-sustaining. The building itself is a clean, sturdy, shining beacon in the midst of overwhelming poverty. The people, dedicated professionals with optimism beyond compare.

We also drove out to Kilisa, a small village a few hours east of Nairobi (in the US, it wouldn’t have taken a few hours, but we’ll talk about Kenyan highways some other time!) to meet with the Kilisa Village Development Community (“KVDC”). What they’ve accomplished already, and what they’ve planned for the future, is remarkable. With so few resources, they’ve managed to redirect their path from one of stagnant poverty which would be expected in an area like this. Instead, they are now on one with the potential for education, enterprise, and sustainable growth.

So what did I learn? Sometimes community-based change does not have to take a government, or years of political negotiating. Water can be found and harnessed from underneath a dry riverbed. A school full of children with a desire to learn does not need a playground, projectors, or even many books. And…. we are very lucky to live in a country with natural resources that allow us to concentrate on more than just survival.

Check out the video of our trip to a school in Kilisa, that our colleague Jessica Coscia produced.

Asante sana!