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Trump says undocumented immigrants are dangerous. This congressman has a great response.

Rep. Jared Polis is shining a light on Trump's attack on immigrants.

Trump says undocumented immigrants are dangerous. This congressman has a great response.

When President Donald Trump announced a plan to publicize crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, members of the audience gasped in surprise and disappointment.

The program is called the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement office (VOICE), and its goal, as outlined by Trump during his February address to a joint session of Congress, is to study "the effects of the victimization by criminal aliens present in the United States" and publicize crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.

Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/Getty Images.


Critics worry — and rightfully so — that the program will create a false impression that immigrants are prone to violent crime, a popular misconception that has been consistently debunked. A recent study found that immigrants — undocumented or not — commit crimes at a lower rate than natural-born citizens. They also contribute a lot to the U.S. economy.

In response, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colorado) launched a similar database with the idea to counter Trump's narrative by telling positive stories about immigrants.

While something needs to be done about our current immigration system, trying to sway public fear by smearing undocumented immigrants as violent (false), job-stealing (false) freeloaders (false, false, false) is a disingenuous way of going about it.

Facts matter, and that's what Polis hopes to demonstrate with his new Saved by American Immigrants National Taskforce (SAINT). In a press release, Polis explained that the purpose of SAINT is "to collect stories of immigrants — both documented and undocumented — who have positively contributed to U.S. society through heroic or lifesaving acts."

Polis speaks during a 2011 press conference. Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images.

In announcing the task force to the House of Representatives, Polis highlighted three examples of stories SAINT will focus on.

There's the story of Antonio Diaz Chacon, an undocumented immigrant who saved a 6-year-old girl from a child abductor in 2011. In 2007, Jesus Manuel Cordova was crossing the Mexico/U.S. border when he found and saved a 9-year-old boy lost alone in the desert. Also in 2007, Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, an undocumented immigrant living in Baltimore, became a world-renowned brain surgeon.

The creation of Polis' task force simply shines a light on Trump's unfair characterization of immigrants as a whole, providing more than one narrative of immigrants' contributions to America. Polis' goal, as he's made clear over the past several years, is to find a comprehensive immigration reform program that works for all Americans, regardless of where they were born.

You can watch Polis announce SAINT in the video below and read more about the program on his website.

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When Molly Reeser was a student at Michigan State University, she took a job mucking horse stalls to help pay for classes. While she was there, she met a 10-year-old girl named Casey, who was being treated for cancer, and — because both were animal lovers — they became fast friends.

Two years later, Casey died of cancer.

"Everyone at the barn wanted to do something to honor her memory," Molly remembers. A lot of suggestions were thrown out, but Molly knew that there was a bigger, more enduring way to do it.

"I saw firsthand how horses helped Casey and her family escape from the difficult and terrifying times they were enduring. I knew that there must be other families who could benefit from horses in the way she and her family had."

Molly approached the barn owners and asked if they would be open to letting her hold a one-day event. She wanted to bring pediatric cancer patients to the farm, where they could enjoy the horses and peaceful setting. They agreed, and with the help of her closest friends and the "emergency" credit card her parents had given her, Molly created her first Camp Casey. She worked with the local hospital where Casey had been a patient and invited 20 patients, their siblings and their parents.

The event was a huge success — and it was originally meant to be just that: a one-day thing. But, Molly says, "I believe Casey had other plans."

One week after the event, Molly received a letter from a five-year-old boy who had brain cancer. He had been at Camp Casey and said it was "the best day of his life."

"[After that], I knew that we had to pull it off again," Molly says. And they did. Every month for the next few years, they threw a Camp Casey. And when Molly graduated, she did the most terrifying thing she had ever done and told her parents that she would be waitressing for a year to see if it might be possible to turn Camp Casey into an actual nonprofit organization. That year of waitressing turned into six, but in the end she was able to pull it off: by 2010, Camp Casey became a non-profit with a paid staff.

"I am grateful for all the ways I've experienced good luck in my life and, therefore, I believe I have a responsibility to give back. It brings me tremendous joy to see people, animals, or things coming together to create goodness in a world that can often be filled with hardships."

Camp Casey serves 1500 children under the age of 18 each year in Michigan. "The organization looks different than when it started," Molly says. "We now operate four cost-free programs that bring accessible horseback riding and recreational services to children with cancer, sickle cell disease, and other life-threatening illnesses."

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