Guest Blogger: Alan Kennedy-Shaffer

Alan Kennedy-Shaffer is a native of Cumberland County and a 2006 graduate of Yale University. In the fall, he will begin law school at William & Mary.

“The respect they deserve”

Defying conventional wisdom, the defeat of several top Republicans in the primaries has apparently galvanized the outgoing leaders of the state legislature in their attempts to divide Pennsylvania along racial, ethnic, and class lines. By quietly amending HB 1569 to make English the official language of the state, the anti-immigration vigilantes hope to scare normally compassionate citizens into ostracizing illegal immigrants.

Working on a local farm picking strawberries alongside Mexican workers made me understand the value of diversity in an increasingly global society. Most illegal immigrants pay the same taxes, perform the same tasks, and love America as much as anyone lucky enough to be born in the United States. Why should immigrants not be afforded the same rights as the rest of us?

God calls us to love our neighbors as ourselves. This means breaking down the walls that divide us and embracing those of all backgrounds and all languages. I have faith that our elected representatives will ultimately accord all who call Pennsylvania home with the respect that they deserve. Let’s just hope they do it sooner rather than later.