You can fix a lot of things in this world but you can't fix stupid.
It was amazing to watch last month as Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and a cohort of Republican legislators in Congress called on the U.S. Department of Labor to expedite its backlog of H-2A labor visa applications filed by Georgia farmers.
H-2A visas are special work permits issued to foreign nationals which allow them to enter the US legally and work for a predetermined length of time under carefully monitored conditions designed to protect these workers as well as the citizen labor force they have temporarily replaced.
According to a press release from Ga. Senator Johnny Isakson, “ The specialty crop industry contributes $4.5 billion in total economic impact and provides over 31,000 jobs throughout the state. Georgia farmers rely heavily on the H-2A visa program to grow and harvest more than 20 different types of fruits and vegetables. Without labor through the H-2A visa program, the industry will be unable to operate at full capacity.”
Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren’t these are the same Georgia politicians who have consistently opposed any and all efforts to enact comprehensive immigration reform because they fear it will take away jobs from U.S. citizens.
Please read the opinion piece on page 12, written by Ashley Cruz, a young Latina who grew up in the heart of Georgia's sweet onion country. The truth is there are a lot of jobs in this country U.S. citizens either will not or cannot do. Immigration reform advocates have presented this truth and fought this battle for so long now that reminders like Ashley's almost seem trite until people like Donald Trump and his legion of mind-numbed supporters remind us there's no expiration date on ignorance.
This issue of La Voz Latina includes a special section devoted to education.
What started out early in May as a desire to recognize a couple of local Latino graduates has turned into a multi-page effort as we witnessed dozens of facebook tributes to young scholars who were graduating from either high school or college this spring. (If we miss your graduate this month, let us know and we'll recognize them in the next issue- send photos and info to email@example.com)
In 2014, over one third of all Hispanic students enrolled in the 12th grade in a Georgia High School, failed to graduate with their classmates. And this was actually good news because it represented the reversal of an earlier trend that saw nearly one in every two Hispanic students dropping out of school before graduation.
I discovered a recurring theme when talking to this year's crop of graduates. Nearly all of them mentioned a special teacher or mentor who had inspired them to work hard and stay in school. And one remarkable thing I've noticed about many Latino students is they already have a very specific career goal they are working toward.
This is in sharp contrast to my own experience as a young South Georgia farm boy who won a congressional appointment to The United States Military Academy in 1970 and spent two winters shivering in the snows of West Point, N.Y. before transferring down to the warmer confines of student life at the University of Georgia in Athens.
While I'm not exactly a font of knowledge for today's high school graduates, I do have one observation I'd like to pass along.
It's not the end of the world if your career plans change somewhere between your first semester of college and your last. Very few things in life work out exactly the way we want them to but most of us get to where we're supposed to go eventually. It's such a cliché even Oprah has a video espousing it- but remember, the most important thing in your life is not the destination but the journey.
Speaking of journeys, don’t miss Catherine Rendón’s account (beginning on page 30) of a special European pilgrimage she undertook recently with an old friend.
So, to my graduate friends I say- good luck, Godspeed, and fight stupid by registering to vote... today!