Sunday, April 1, 2012

Packing a Political Punch: 2012 Elections and MEChA


Packing a Political Punch

Politics, the specialist way

Yale students may not be queuing around the block to sign up for positions on campaigns, but they are, it seems, going into 2012 with clear priorities about what they care about. If Yalies aren’t working to elect public officials, they certainly wish to inject their values into national policy debate.

One clear example of this were the 30+ comments in the News survey that mentioned women’s reproductive rights as the respondent's top political priority, and the recent flurry of Republican comments and legislation concerning similar legislation. Other individuals interviewed are determined to make their issues matter on the national stage this election year, even if they are not currently hot-button issues.

“My time on campus has introduced me to others who pursue their causes with a similar level of passion to my own — these elections mean a lot of different things to people, and I am constantly impressed with the level of commitment to issues that I see in other students here,” said Diana Enriquez ’13, who is involved with the campus Chicano advocacy group MEChA de Yale. “The stakes are high for many of us.”

Enriquez believes that the recently proposed DREAM Act, and state legislation such as Arizona’s SB 1070 helped reignite interest in the immigration debate. She added that she hopes to get her fellow students more interested in issues such as racial profiling, and the image of immigration even beyond the Latino community.

“I collect stories. I share stories about my family, the communities we've worked with in New Haven and people I worked with at home. We talk about students like us who face uncertain futures because their immigration status puts them or their families at risk of deportation,” Enriquez said. “The human interest story is always a powerful one, and my role as a student activist is to remind other students how real these issues are for the people around them.”

Getting discussions going, she added, is a vital first step. Recent issues surrounding the implementation of the Secure Communities program, which has been attacked for the precarious position in which it places illegal immigrants, will help stimulate continued interest, Enriquez said.

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