[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/06/04/georgia.teen.heart/art.guatemalan.family.cnn.jpg caption="Juan's parents, Pascual and Maria, made their first plane trip to visit him from Guatemala. "]
Congressman Phil Gingrey represents Georgia’s 11th district - a suburban and rural area which holds mostly conservative views. Two years ago, when I was a student at Georgia State, I interviewed Representative Gingrey for a radio program on the university’s radio station WRAS. The Congressman was once an OBGYN, and some 20 years earlier he had actually delivered a colleague of mine.
Since that time I had not followed the Congressman’s career; until this week, when I looked up from my computer – and there he was on CNN.
This is a politician who makes a big deal of his position against illegal immigration, calling undocumented immigrants a “tremendous strain on Georgia’s hospitals, school systems and social welfare programs…” He lays out 10 principles he will stick to when considering immigration legislation. Here is number ten:
‘Illegal aliens currently in the United States may be afforded a one-time opportunity to leave the country without being prosecuted. Those who do not take advantage of this opportunity will be removed and permanently barred from returning.’
Juan Gonzalez is an undocumented immigrant who is 18-years-old. He came to the United States from Guatemala last year and wound up in Rome, Georgia, part of Rep. Gingrey’s district working as a dishwasher. In November, Gonzalez discovered he had a chronically weak heart. His prognosis was dire. His parents back in Guatemala were desperate to see their son for perhaps the last time. But they were having a great deal of difficulty obtaining the paperwork necessary to come to the United States.
Reporter's Note: President Barack Obama wants advice on how to run the country. I suspect if I were President of the United States I’d want an owner’s manual. Nonetheless, my “letter a day to the White House” campaign continues unabated.
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
I’ve been following this spat over Sonia Sotomayor’s “wise Latina” comment, and it really has me thinking about the nature of experience, and judgment, and justice. You may recall that some time ago I questioned whether we, as a culture, are giving up on the notion of objectivity, and this Supreme Court business is bringing it all back to mind. (Kind of the way Enter the Dragon reminds me of a girlfriend I once had. Ha!)
Anyway, without diving right into the fracas over your choice (because heaven knows that pool is plenty crowded already) I did want to share a couple of thoughts.
For starters, I accept that the way we are raised, the culture in which we grow up, and the events that fill our days substantially shape the moral framework of our lives.
In that sense, experience…not general experience, but specific life experience…matters. If we want a court that represents and understands all types of Americans, not just the white men who have forever dominated the court, a good mix of ethnicities, genders, ages, and points of view would appear to be de facto “good.” (“De facto;” that’s lawyer talk…extra points for me!)
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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