Posts Tagged ‘immigrants’

GED DiplomaA few days ago I got a interesting comment to a blog that I had posted. One of the comments that was mentioned was that I was not teaching the guys that I teach the right information. It was also stated that I some how was not effective in what I was doing because the guys that are here don’t take their education seriously.

Ironically the day after I got this comment, along with some other vile remarks, one of my students passed the GED test.  After he passed the test we had a talk about what his future goals were.  He laid out to me his goals and what he wanted to do with his GED.  What was so interesting is that this was one of my Hispanic students that doesn’t speak any English. I say this, to those who genuinely desire to help others, that no matter what others say, or if they try to discourage you, there is at least one person that is counting on you!

I am getting close to coming home now and my students are concerned about getting another tutor that is interested in helping them and taking interest in their education, wanting nothing in return.  The teacher that I work for is concerned about the same thing as well. Why is this so important to them?  These are guys that are to be deported back to places such as Mexico, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador and Puerto Rico, and the only thing that they have to show that they were here in this country is the GED that they got in prison.  It is a sad reality that these are men who either sacrificed to come here or another relative scarified for them to come here to get what they had to get in prison, and that is an education.  Look at the irony in that.

The one thing that most of us that are born here in the U.S. take for granted is the one thing that liberates another, a piece of paper that says that I have an American education.  One thing that I have learned in all these years of incarceration is that if there is nothing else that can be expected, having some sort of education will cause others to respect you.  This is something that is recognized no matter where you are from.

One of the most rewarding feelings is to pass this Puerto Rican kid throughout the prison and he just lights up and smiles. It is as if he cannot believe it.  This was a guy who struggled and had many days where he just wanted to quit.  It would be those days where I would tell him, “Oye manito! Que estas pasando? Yo creo en ti.  Tenga confianza y fe.  Haga lo mejor que puedes.  Todo va a salir bien” (What is going on with you?  I believe in you take trust in yourself and faith.  Do the best that you can.  Everything is going to come out well). It was these words of encouragement that helped him overcome the self doubt.  Now that he has gotten his GED it is as if the world has opened up to him and he is able to see the possibilities that exist.  That experience is enough to keep me involved no matter what anyone else may say, do, or think.


part 1 this is part one of a series

talk about history repeating itself we are seeing that today with the growth of the Hispanic population in America. the things that African Americans went through the Hispanics are going through the same thing but the difference being the slave trade has been replaced with incarceration. let me share with you a story that i heard the other day and from here you can draw the parallels.

as a male prisoner i am very aware of how prisons operates and how it effects the men but i never considered how it effects the women that have kids. when a immigrant woman is locked up her kids are taken into custody at the same time. that is if they are there during the arrest. if they are not there than there is no telling what happens to them if they have no family members here in the states. can you imagine coming home from school to find that your mother is not there and has been taken into custody? the worse part of that is that you cannot go and inquire because your status of being free may change upon inquiry. you are illegal so you have no legal rights to get a lawyer and fight to make sure that justice is served. than you don’t know any of that as you are a child and have not idea what all of this really means. this would be hard to imagine! yet everyday this takes place and people are oblivious to it. draw the parallel of slavery here of when the tribes were raided and Africans where kidnapped to be enslaved. when the child was off somewhere else to return to the tribe after a day of playing and hungry for the days activities, anxious to get home to tell mom about something spectacular that may have happened only to get there and find that the land had been raided and no one left. who raises that child?

when an undocumented woman is locked up for her status here her children are either placed in foster care, more American dollars spent to take care of this child, the child is turned over to other relatives or the child ends up homeless and locked out of society. with that being said it is no wonder that the gangs have become surrogate families for many Hispanics in this country.

when a person of illegal status is locked up the sentences have various ranges from months to years. if a person is released to their country and come back that time doubles, there are guys here that are doing up to 10 years for crossing over into the us. not for crimes but for re-entry. most of them are coming back to reunite with family. the women are willing to risk death, and a host of other crimes against humanity that goes along with cross the middle of the desert with a group of men who are crooked minded, and incarceration just to get reunite with their children. the bond of a mother and child is that strong that they would endure that and risk coming back to prison for a longer term than the first time.

often these women have their minds made up prior to release that they are coming back for these children. this is the same mindset that many women on those slave ships had. all they wanted to do was get back home to their children. they were bribed into thinking that after a certain amount of time they were going to be taken back home to reunite with family. this was to get more production out of them. so when Michelle Alexander talks about mass incarceration and how it parallels slavery and the era of Jim Crow all we have to do it look at the Hispanic issue and make parallels and the picture that she paints becomes clearer.