Action Education

The following excerpts are from letters to the editor written by students at Horlick High School in Racine, Wis. The students were responding to a letter that appeared in the Racine Journal Times after an immigrant rights protest. That letter read, in part: "Hello, what don't you understand? You are here illegally, why should you get any justice? When and if you can become a citizen, then you can protest about labor justice . . . the law should have been there [at the protest] to deport all illegal immigrants." Allen Levie, who teaches Latino-American history at Racine Horlick, had all his students read the letter and used the following questions to prompt discussion and letter writing: What do you think about the article? Should everyone have the right to justice or just citizens? How do illegal immigrants benefit the local economy? How do they hurt the local economy? How does the letter to the editor make you feel?

All peoples on this planet, U.S. citizens or not, deserve justice and freedom. You say legal citizens do not have jobs because illegal immigrants work for a much lower salary. It is not true. Illegal immigrants take jobs that most citizens do not want. Illegal immigrants benefit the economy by doing those jobs. They also pay taxes but do not receive benefits. Because they are not legal citizens doesn't mean they deserve to be treated less humanely than citizens.

-Jessie Sanchez

What if a family member of yours came here illegally? Would you try and get them deported? No, I don't think you would. You would want them to try and make a better life for themselves here in the U.S. than in the country they are fleeing from. Most of these people are trying to become legal citizens but it takes years for papers to go through our ridiculously backed up system.

These people don't hurt our economy. They pay taxes and don't receive any back so really they are helping. They want jobs that most people do not want. They work hard labor such as construction, landscaping, cleaning, and a lot of other things as well. We are offended and appalled at the fact that so many people are ignorant to the facts and situations of the immigrants that come here.

-Krystal Rendan

The following students contributed their ideas to the two preceding letters: Ivette Sanchez, Alex Ventura, Cecilia Leal, Brenda Garcia,
Viviana Pastrana, David Garcia, Andres Garcia, Jessie Sanchez,
Alex Avila, Sherry Castillo, Jessica Cheever, Nick Johnson, Jordan Coon, Crystal Nelson, Jeremy Harpe, and Tim Basaldua.