21 May 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Deportation of Classmate sparks Immigration Teach-in

6-8th graders at St. Bernard School in Wisconsin learned more about the painful side of deportation when one of their classmates–Miriam–was deported to Mexico.

The students were quite unaware of immigration policies and had questions. Some expressed their closeness to Miriam and were saddened by her absence from the school.

“For me it was kind of difficult,” said Jasmin Torres. “This is my first year here and she was like the only person I knew when I got here. It just made it a lot harder coming to school without her.”

Elle Bellisle attended St. Philip the Apostle School with Miriam before it closed two years ago. “When it closed down we came here,” she said. “She was like the only one I hung out with.”

The teach-ins led by an immigration counselor from Catholic Charities was eye-opening for the students. Many expressed that they had no idea that it took about 14 years to immigrate to the United States, or immigrants who seeked asylum because they feared persecution in their country.

It is heartening to see the Catholic Church on the right side of the immigration debate, promoting understanding and education instead of intolerance and hatred. Teaching kids about the painful side of the immigration debate at an early age builds tolerance and understanding of the matter. It also helps to form a stronger community and enable kids to be helpful and pro-active.

The entire story is here.

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