Yes, You Can (Make a Difference)


I read a lot of awful news every day, which sometimes leaves me feeling hopeless and powerless. That doesn’t help me or anyone. So I trot out all the old-but-true cliches:

Sooner or later, something clicks, and I remember that I can’t do everything, but I can do something, and I start moving again. In that spirit, I urge you to get moving today on three specific actions that can make a difference.

1) Talk.

Yes, talk to families and friends about immigration and about the other political issues that divide us. My favorite quote on the reasons for talking about tough political issues:

“It’s probably not going to feel good. It won’t seem like you ‘accomplished’ anything or ‘fixed it.’ It’s gonna suck, big time and for a long time. You might not ‘win’ this round, but if you’re open, honest and respectful, you might learn something. These conversations—with people who don’t or only partly agree with us—are but the first in a series of infinite steps along the way to bridging the divides in what we call, for lack of a better word, this nation. It’s awful that we can’t all just get along, but we can’t, because we don’t. This isn’t like a bad boyfriend where we can just stop answering their calls. America can’t break up with itself. We’re in this relationship forever, so even though it hurts, even though it takes forever, even though it’s annoying, I am begging you, before you pass the mashed potatoes: baby, let’s just talk about it.”

2) Write.

Even if you are “not a writer,” you can submit an official comment opposing the latest awful rules that shut out both long-time legal residents applying for citizenship and also people fleeing from violence and persecution.

The administration has proposed an astronomical increase in fees for naturalization, permanent legal residence, DACA, and many other immigration applications. That rule also would impose a $50 fee on asylum seekers, a first-time-ever burden on those fleeing violence in their home countries. You can comment against that rule with a simple, one-click procedure through CLINIC (Catholic Legal Immigration Network) or Maryknoll.

This proposed rule is one of a flood of regulations and administrative changes that attempt to implement racist and anti-immigrant policies of this administration. Watch this space for more information on two other anti-asylum regulations in the pipeline.

3) Know that you are not alone.

If you are horrified by the anti-immigrant actions and policies of this administration, you are part of a large majority in both Minnesota and the country. 

MOST people support immigrants. MOST people know that immigrants strengthen the country and make this country better in the long run. MOST people support giving long-time undocumented immigrants a path to legal residence, as well as welcoming young people with DACA and people with Temporary Protected Status.

Despite public support for immigrants, the administration continues to oppose and limit and strangle immigration in every way it can, both through legal attacks and by outright disregard and violation of the law. In the face of the enormity of the challenge of turning around the current anti-immigrant policies, I offer one final quotation/inspiration. Although it might not be the quote from Talmud that social media thinks it is, the message still works for me:

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not called to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

About Mary Turck

News Day, written by Mary Turck, analyzes, summarizes, links to, and comments on reports from news media around the world, with particular attention to immigration, education, and journalism. Fragments, also written by Mary Turck, has fiction, poetry and some creative non-fiction. Mary Turck edited TC Daily Planet,, from 2007-2014, and edited the award-winning Connection to the Americas and AMERICAS.ORG, in its pre-2008 version. She is also a recovering attorney and the author of many books for young people (and a few for adults), mostly focusing on historical and social issues.
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