Friday, April 11, 2008

Border Patrol and Diversity?

Recently here at APU they had a "career fair." They invited representatives from all sorts of different organizations looking to "recruit" students from APU. It's always ironic to me that our "Christian" school always invites military to this event. But this year APU, which is quite loudly encouraging of "diversity," invited the Border Patrol and "Homeland Security." Since I am writing my Senior Seminar paper on Mexican-U.S. immigration, this was especially ironic to me. And I was encouraged to hear that many other students at APU noticed the irony as well.

This letter was sent out over Facebook (don't judge the grammar, I didn't write it).

For those of you that don't know, APU invited the US Border Patrol to participate in this years career day. The following is an e-mail that was forwarded to me and that, if you agree with the views expressed, I recommend you forward to every APU student you know.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing this letter as the first of many. The series of these letters will address frustrations had by the student body for the invitation that you extended to Border Patrol, as well as other offices of homeland security in today’s career fair. It should be taken into account by your office that I, among other students of this campus, feel that this invitation contradicts explicitly with our university’s declaration for a diverse and equitable campus environment. Your invitation has been received by a portion of the student body as a hostile attack on our individual values and beliefs, and that this is furthered by the contradictory language flowered in the words of ‘pillars’ and ‘cornerstones’ of equality, community, and love for the marginalized and the outsider.

Further, it seems as though your inability to extend invitation to a diverse range of employers expresses to us our insignificance in this community. We have previously, and do currently, understand this message that this institution only accepts a homogenous view; that, because we exist on the other side of this paradigm, we are set aside to the periphery. We understand that this may not have been done intentionally or with malice, but we wish to convey that, because this has happened, we feel it right and good to express frustration. The frustrations laid down here are indeed shared by a number of students at this university. We express this opinion, not in the petty feigns of retribution, but in order to evoke change and transformation.

· We wish to see that more thought is given to your process of organization for future job fairs.

· We hope that, in the future, more than one view and one path are made available to the students of this school.

· And most importantly, we call for your public apology to the students of this school for the invitations extended to the offices of Homeland Security, and especially that of US Border Patrol.
I don't think I agree with this letter... at least not its trajectory. But I was encouraging to me to see that students were noticing the irony. I'm not sure what I think of the letter though... It closes dialog, rather than opening it. What are your thoughts?

7 comments:

nate said...

I believe due process allows for diversity...securing the border from the influx of untaxed goods, drugs, and illegal immigration in no way hampers the integration of diversity, just ensure safe diversification.

A friend who was a groomsman in my wedding worked HARD to legally enter America from his homeland of Poland. He recently obtained a greencard and a job after years of study and toil. I love the diversity he offers. I wish the process could have been faster for him, but he understands, as his grandparents remember the illegal entry into Poland by Germany in WWII as a result of a lack of border patrol.

Those are my two cents, may be worng, may be right.

WES ELLIS said...

If only there was a line to stand in for most immigrants, I'm sure they'd work "HARD" as well. Though, tracking through the desert with no water can't be considered easy. But, when you've go no money, you just can't come... legally. The people who need asylum the most, just can't get it.

I'm writing a paper on this stuff, right now. It's not amazing scholarship, but it at least gives some insight. I will post it on this blog (maybe not the whole thing... it's 30 pages) when I'm done.

Mark said...

The letter certainly does not open dialogue, that is true. However, from an outsider's point of view, I don't feel convinced that the school is being... "unequal" in that sense. No one has proven that to me. Then again, I don't know the whole story. I don't know who all was there - what careers, etc. Another question: who would be there to "balance out" the border patrol?

WES ELLIS said...

Mark,
good question. I guess if there were a career in smuggling deserving immigrants illegally into the US, that would balance it out.
But, seriously, I have no idea what there could be to make a balance. Like I said, I don't know what to think of the letter. I was just encouraged that people were thinking... however misguided the letter may be, I was refreshed by it.

Christopher said...

I agree with the previous comments. Since being away from APU I've realized how compassionate and diversity-seeking the campus was in some regards, but how little thought went into some of it. Its like people are exposed to ideas like social justice and the minor prophets, and they apply the ideas wholesale with little thought.

Take the prayer tower on west campus for example. Could the money have been given to the poor? Yes. Which group of poor should we donate it to? Who is most deserving? Couldn't you argue that those who are starving in Africa are more deserving than the poor in Azusa? And what if those who donated the money to build the tower also donate 80% of their income to the poor in Rwanda? I think you could probably do a similar deconstruction on the letter you posted and pull out assumptions not grounded in fact as well as a closed perspective not considering other perspectives.

Mark said...

Ah, yes. I see your point, Wes, and I concur. That probably is nice (as a high schooler, I'm not really used to people thinking either). However, I will admit that I am probably even more frustrated by people who form opinions and get angry about things that they really don't know about or understand. I.e. illegal immigration. You, Wes, for example, are knowledgeable in this area seeing as you come from San Diego and you wrote that enormous research paper on it. But the rest of us really don't know about these issues when it comes down to it. I think we need to tone down our arguments against stuff like this when we're really not that in touch with the situation. But I see your point. I think I just need this letter to make a better argument before I can throw any support at the guy's opinion.

WES ELLIS said...

Christopher,
You are right! good thoughts. If you really should check out the discussion that's going on over there.
http://www.facebook.com/note.php?
note_id=17146565099

Mark,
you should check it out too
http://www.facebook.com/note.php?
note_id=17146565099
You're right, it's not a good argument.