Friday, February 3, 2017

Loving America

A guest post today by Dr. Zaneb Beams. Dr. Beams is a pediatrician and a former candidate for the Howard County Board of Education. Her words tell a very personal story of what it means to be an immigrant in this country.


First, a definition: 
adjective: undocumented
not recorded in or proved by documents.
not having the appropriate legal document or license.
"undocumented immigrants"

I write today to tell you why I support Howard County Council bill 9, also referred to as CB9. This is a bill that establishes Howard County as a sanctuary county, simply stating that law enforcement officials will not ask for citizenship or immigration information unless it is legally appropriate. It commits to preventing discrimination by Howard County employees based on citizenship or immigration status. This allows members of the community who need help to access police protection without fear. It creates opportunity for all our neighbors to acquire work without prejudice. It confirms that Howard County employees will always cooperate with federal, state, and local laws. 

Like most Americans, I am the child of immigrants. My parents came here when America was desperately in need of doctors. In the 1970's, we didn't have enough physicians to care for sick Americans. Many doctors did not want to work in poor or rural areas. So scientists from around the world were invited to help. These highly trained professionals came here to help our forebears. And they came to love this country. My parents proudly carry an American passport. They always wear their American flag when they travel in airports. They work in the community to help poor, sick and less educated kids. My parents proudly participate in every election. They taught me to love this country, its laws, and customs, and our people. They taught me to dedicate my life to service and education, and like them, I have. They taught me to respect our American laws and appreciate our American life. I kept a copy of the constitution in my pocket for decades. We love America. 

We love that anyone can come here and educate themselves, work hard, and make a life without the chains of prejudice, poverty, illness, lawlessness, military coups, or  religious oppression. These are all a mundane part of everyday life where my parents were raised. They came here and we became free. And we love America. 

I have family and friends and patients who have been "undocumented." It doesn't mean you forced your way in or you scaled a border wall with a pocket full of pemmican. Sometimes it means you did everything you were supposed to, and then waited for the authorities to complete their tasks. It means that while you complete your training, you depend on fortune and friends to protect and believe in you. In this country, though, administrators in immigration and embassies produce results without bribes or coercion. Because simple acts like getting a new passport or driver's license happen without a dirty handshake, we love America. 

I have spent summers in a country where you are woken by government workers at 3 am to prepare to fast. Here in Maryland, nobody has ever knocked on my door to impose their religion on me. In fact, I'm welcomed by curious friends whenever religion is a topic. I belong to the American Ethical Union as a practicing Secular Humanist, I have friends and family of every religion, and we are not afraid of each other. We can think and love and practice our religions freely here, and that is why we love America. 

We are called on now to stand for these American values: freedom of religion, freedom to work, and the opportunity to be treated as equals, and pursue our happiness. This requires respect for the law, and our legal tradition protects our neighbors in need with due process and equal protection under the law. We must protect our constitution, our American way of life, and our laws. These very laws protect all of us. They protect our freedoms, and thus our very way of life. This is why CB9 is sensible, important, and necessary. 

I urge all Howard County residents and all our council members to support our American way of life by supporting CB9.


You can add your comments here:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.