Homeland Security Protecting America: Deporting Special Education Teacher?
It turns out that Mr. Attouoman is an immigrant from the Ivory Coast who arrived in 1992 seeking political asylum. However, after missing a deportation hearing four years ago, he ended up in jail for three months, lost an appeal, and is now facing possible deportation.
Ironically, there is a shortage of special education teachers in America. As one local paper reported:
"We have a healthy pool of applicants from which our principals can choose," Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Jennifer Johnson said.Mr. Attouoman works at Fenway High School in Boston and has taught in the Boston public schools for more than a decade.
Specialty positions such as special education teachers are very difficult to fill.
"We work 10 times harder to find a special-education teacher," she said.
He states he misread a handwritten date on his hearing notice. He has been trying for the past three years to get a new hearing, but has been ordered to leave the country. Fortunately, since it would be dangerous for Mr. Attouoman to return to the Ivory Coast, he has been given a reprieve until 2007 to find another country to take him in asylum.
What is wrong in America that we attempt to deport a teacher who fails to make a hearing on their immigration status? A teacher who is employed in our schools and are here seeking asylum. A teacher that has already been jailed for his failure, who his loved by his students.
Senator John Kerry has introduced a bill in the Congress to allow Attouman to stay here permanently.
Thank you Senator Kerry! America needs to once again remember the words of Emma Lazarus from "The New Colossus" on the Statue of Liberty:
Give me your tired, your poor,We are living in difficult times. America needs the leadership of John Kerry in the White House and not just as a Senator. All of America and all of the world need the restoration of true American values that recognizes the plight of immigrants who have much to offer our nation.
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.