How Immigration Became Hate Speech

This morning, two journalists were killed by a man who, reportedly, was angry about racial issues. In a moment, two young lives were cut short and a nation again reeled into stunned silence. But, this isn’t about gun laws or gun restrictions. That is left for another day. What this is about is the level of hate and hate speech that seems to be apparent these days. Honestly, it is heartbreaking.

Turn to any media outlet and what you hear is hate. Hate because of race, hate because of gender, hate because of sexual preference, hate because of religious beliefs and hate because of national origin. Hate has become the message no matter what the topic.

When tragedy strikes, communities rally, they rise in solidarity and give each other comfort. But then, it all goes back to being the same. Nothing changes. Hate speech continues to be spewed and the media continues to give it a stage. Are we not better than this?

As the focus of the nation shifts to the elections in 2016, candidates have taken to spreading hate not only for each other, but have also begun advocating a hatred toward one another. Divisive speech has become the norm. Why do we continue to allow this?

America is a unique place. It is great in its ability to stand as an example of people from everywhere living and thriving in harmony. But, this harmony is at risk. As hate speech gains traction, the fabric of America is at risk of being torn. Can we really allow this to happen?

Immigration has become the latest weapon of choice. Instead of celebrating our differences, the speech has become toxic, pitting one group of people against another. Those who are in leadership roles, or who want to be in leadership roles, have made it their calling to exploit the fears and insecurities of groups of people. But how is this leadership?

As the debate heats up over birthright citizenship and walls at the border, all that is gained is more divisive, hate speech. What are missing are real solutions to difficult, complex laws that often cause more heartache than people ever hear about or understand. Honest dialog that reasonably examines issues of citizenship, the long time delays of an overburdened immigration system and the backlogs that cause immigration cases to linger in immigration courts across the nation are often left with a cursory review. The often harsh reality of a system that provides limited to no relief for families, employers and those fleeing hostile lands is lost in the sound bites that take over the 24 hour news cycle. So how does this change?

The preamble of the Constitution begins, “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” Perhaps time has come to step back the hate speech and come together as a people to demand that our leaders be defined in their ability to bring us together, to encourage tranquility, and protect this and future generations. It is after all what the founding fathers had set out to do so long ago.

 

Gearing up for impact on young illegal immigrants seeking work permits under new policy change

Michael and Rekha Sharma-Crawford expect their office phones to begin ringing today – and for weeks to come. Their Kansas City immigration law firm has been affected by almost every administration and court decision regarding immigration legislation over the past nine years. Today’s announcement by the Obama Administration and the Department of Homeland Security is significant.

“Politics aside, decisions like this and changes in policy stir up questions and activity throughout the immigrant community,” said Michael Sharma-Crawford. “Today we must understand the Administration’s policy announcement and advise a large segment of the Kansas City community on how this might impact individuals and families for years to come.”

According to today’s announcement, the Obama administration will stop deporting and begin granting work permits to younger illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have since led law-abiding lives.

The policy change, announced today by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, will affect as many as 800,000 immigrants nationwide and a large Kansas and Missouri population who have lived in fear of deportation.

According to early reading of the Administration’s policy, illegal immigrants will be immune from deportation if they were brought to the United States before they turned 16, are currently  younger than 30, have been in the country for at least five continuous years, have no criminal history, graduated from a U.S. high school or earned a GED, or served in the military. They also can apply for a work permit that will be good for two years, with no limits on how many times it can be renewed.

“Regardless of how politics impacts this decision in the weeks and months to follow, we do know that many lives in our local Kansas City immigrant community are significantly affected by today’s decision,” added Sharma-Crawford.