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Dreams, Wishes And Hope For 2011

by Wendy Castor Hess

It's just absolutely amazing how formed we are from the moment of birth and how very little our personalities actually change as we grow older (of course, as we grow older, we do learn to mask our less attractive characteristics in order to better fit into society). I confirmed this belief many years ago when my daughter was about 2 years old and our family was seated in a restaurant. At that time, my adorable little girl loved to throw things on the ground, howling in glee as we all ran around picking up after her. This particular restaurant, however, was a bit different than most, for it was one where peanuts in shells were served and patrons were encouraged to throw their empty shells onto the ground. My daughter stared in disbelief as she watched her father and older brother toss their shells onto the ground, without a peep from me. Her brow creased as she tried to figure out why no one was reprimanding them when she had always been reprimanded for the very same action-tossing her belongings onto the floor.

Her state of disbelief and confusion grew incrementally when she noticed the stuffed deer and animal heads mounted on columns within the restaurant, all, of course, part of the hunting décor. She walked around the columns in circles, searching for something. In an agitated voice, she ran back to us, crying "stuck, stuck", for she could not find the bodies to the animals and thought for sure that something horrible had happened to them-that they somehow were "stuck" and needed our help to be freed from their agony . To this day, my daughter, now 18, cries and speaks out against any perceived abuse to an animal.

After the defeat of the Dream Act this last month, she called me from college, knowing that I would be quite depressed. She was equally incensed and hurt over what she perceived as a lack of justice and fairness in our laws. Not surprisingly, she, at age 18, understands what many members of Congress are unwilling or unable to comprehend: innocent children cannot continue to be "stuck", mounted on proverbial columns, waiting to be freed from their hurt and pain, because of wrongful actions committed so long ago by their parents, when they, the children, were without the ability to object or to change their fate.

Posted along I-95 is a sign that states: "Lesson 101-Microsoft was founded in a Recession". What the sign leaves out, however, is the next lesson: One of these Dream Act kids is our next Bill Gates, Benjamin Franklin, Madame Curie, Albert Einstein or Jonas Salk. However, if they remain mounted on the proverbial column and are not free to create, to invent, to dream, our country loses big time.

This new year, then, I repeat my dream, my wish and my hope from last year, but I do so with even more conviction: I dream, I wish and I hope that my country-your country-will have the courage to do what is right for these children and to, at last, pass the Dream Act. Happy New Year to all!

About The Author

Wendy Castor Hess has limited her practice to immigration, nationality and consular law since 1980. She has extensive experience representing research institutions, universities, multi-national corporations, health care institutions, information technology firms, and large consulting firms (and, importantly, the foreign nationals they seek to employ) in securing appropriate immigrant and nonimmigrant visas. She also has extensive experience representing employers, both large and small, in employer sanctions matters, as well as representing individuals in all immigration litigation matters.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.