IAUSA Irish Apostolate

An Immigrant's Musings - May 2014




Last year, a group of women from a wide variety of organizations and groups, came together to begin a campaign of fasting for immigration reform.


One of the leaders, Judith Browne Dianis explained why the women decide to act in such a way: "We are fasting to stand in solidarity with the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country seeking a pathway to citizenship.


As women who work in racial justice, we understand that racism and xenophobia have shaped our country's shameful policies on immigration.


Women and children make up three-fourths of all immigrants. As a result of deportations, children - many of whom are American citizens - are often left behind as their parents are imprisoned and deported. Families are living in fear in the shadows of society and on the run, creating unstable anxiety-ridden lives for children."


I applaud these inspirational women, what they are doing is a serious effort to humanize an issue that so often is presented in cold economic and political terms. People all too often forget the heartbreaking stories of real people who are torn apart by our outdated and inadequate laws.


The act of fasting brings us in touch with our humanity and reminds us of our inter-dependence and shared needs and values as members of the community that make up this great nation.


I find it amusing that, when political candidates are seeking election they very often highlight their "humble origins" and the fact that they, "understand the plight of working families." And yet, when it comes time for those same individuals, using their power as elected representatives, to improve our immigration laws, they come up short again and again in their efforts to truly work for the good of the country.


Let us hope and pray, that the U.S. House of Representatives, can remember their roots as descendants of immigrants, and that they will heed the call of former Florida governor Jeb Bush who said recently: "The U.S. needs to become young and dynamic again, that means we should consider immigration reform not as a problem, but as a huge opportunity for us to fix it and make it an economically driven system that will be part of the catalytic converter of sustained economic growth." 





Shark Bait


During a research experiment a marine biologist placed a shark into a large holding tank and then released several small baitfish into the tank.

As you would expect, the shark quickly swam around the tank, attacked and ate the smaller fish.


The marine biologist then inserted a strong piece of clear fiberglass into the tank, creating two separate partitions. She then put the shark on one side of the fiberglass and a new set of baitfish on the other.


Again, the shark quickly attacked.  This time, however, the shark slammed into the fiberglass divider and bounced off.  Undeterred, the shark kept repeating this behavior every few minutes to no avail.  Meanwhile, the baitfish swam around unharmed in the second partition.  Eventually, about an hour into the experiment, the shark gave up.


This experiment was repeated several dozen times over the next few weeks.  Each time, the shark got less aggressive and made fewer attempts to attack the bait fish, until eventually the shark got tired of hitting the fiberglass divider and simply stopped attacking altogether.


The marine biologist then removed the fiberglass divider, but the shark didn't attack.  The shark was trained to believe a barrier existed between it and the baitfish, so the bait fish swam wherever they wished, free from harm.


The moral:  Many of us, after experiencing setbacks and failures, emotionally give up and stop trying. Like the shark in the story, we believe that because we were unsuccessful in the past, we will always be unsuccessful. In other words, we continue to see a barrier in our heads, even when no 'real' barrier exists between where we are and where we want to go.





Should you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me at: sliabhanoir@yahoo.com or 773-282-8445.









The Irish Apostolate USA is the umbrella organization for the Irish Immigration Pastoral and Outreach Centers in the United States, under the direction of the Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants. 

Please visit our website for more information:    Irish Apostolate USA 
Geri Garvey, Administrator
Irish Apostolate USA
Phone/Fax:  301-384-3375     Email: administrator@usairish.org