While I was eating lunch in a restaurant today the TV was blaring, and I saw the following story on CNN: Valedictorian Fights to Stay in the U.S. The version that I saw was slightly different. It did have the same newscaster who butchered the young woman’s last name that time as well (in a separate incident. I would think that someone would tell her how to pronounce the girl’s name).
In any case, here’s CNN claiming to actually care about someone about to be deported. Why? Because she’s valedictorian of her class. Would they care about her otherwise? We can say definitely no, because then they would be airing stories of this kind all the time, given how many people are deported.
Why this young lady? I feel for her, too, but listen to her talk. She’s worked hard, lived here all her life (since she was four). In the version I saw on TV she said she wanted a chance at the American Dream and that America stands for the freedom to be happy, which uses all the right buzz words, but what does it really mean? She knows just what to say to make herself sympathetic, but it’s all meaningless. What she’s really saying is that she’s special. She doesn’t deserve to get sent back. She said she felt she earned the right to stay, that she’d worked hard. I bet that many others worked just as hard as she did, if not harder, and they still got sent back to the countries they came from.
On the version they aired on TV (unfortunately not included on the online video), the newscaster talks to a lawyer about the case. The first thing she asks him is if there are any loopholes they can use to keep her in the states. Yes, loopholes. That’s what America is all about, isn’t it? We see the system screwing someone, and the first thing we ask is if there’s a loophole. Let’s not try to fix the inequity of the system because we’re OK with that, as long as this one girl (and possibly the sister that is briefly mentioned?) doesn’t have to go to Colombia.
And did I mention her brother fought in Iraq and Afghanistan? Oh yes. So that must make her even more worthy.
The question I have is why does CNN care? Why did they choose her and put her on the air? Are they hoping that she gets to stay, so that they can claim the system let’s us keep the “good” illegals and gets rid of only the “bad” ones? They don’t seem to actually care about any of the other people being deported, and neither does she. Or if she does, they’re not letting her say it here, and they’re certainly not saying it. So what does it all mean?
Is it just more propaganda about the so-called American Dream? If the teen who rated fifth in her graduating class was on a list to get deported and waiting to get into college, do we keep her? What about the person in the top third of her class? What if it’s someone in the top half of the class who only wants to go to state college instead of Yale? Where is the line for people who deserve to stay? Just what kind of factors actually matter in determining who stays and who goes?
They talked about the possibility that congress could make a private bill to let her stay. Private bills are not something I can get behind. It seems like a clear violation of equal protection under the law. If it’s a problem that this girl might be deported, then it must be a problem for some others as well. Shouldn’t we, if we’re going to go passing bills here, make one that applies to everyone equally? Why doesn’t anyone on CNN seem to think it’s odd that they are advocating special treatment for this one girl, just because they have heard of her?
We can’t just claim it’s OK to let her stay because we deem her special and send others away who are probably just as smart as she is (since the main argument for her being special seems to be that she’s smart/gets good grades). So she wants to go to college and live the American Dream. I’ll bet you that most immigrants will say that. It’s the classic line. It doesn’t make her special. It just explains why she’s here. And even if it did make her special, that doesn’t make it right if we let her stay and send others away.
She’s not the only one. I don’t know what the solution is, but it’s not slipping this girl through a loophole and then forgetting about the whole thing, which is what CNN seems to want to do. It’s just not the right way to be thinking about it. Send us your smart, your special, your sympathetic. Maybe we’ll consider letting them stay.