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Attack on Chilean Students

On March 15, 2009, I had the honor of attending the community memorial service for Nicolas Pablo Corp-Torres and Racine Balbontín-Argandoña, the two victims who were killed last month when a gunman opened fire into an apartment where they were visiting. Three other people inside the apartment were seriously injured. All five victims were Chilean students here in the United States on cultural exchange visas, commonly known as J visas. I remember first hearing about this tragedy from a friend; I did not hear about it through the local or national news media, nor did I hear anything about it later other than through local media. At the service, I wondered where was the national news media? Where was the outrage at what had happened? If a Latino man, particularly an undocumented one, had killed or wounded 5 American students, we would never have heard the end of it. A couple of weeks later, another gunman went on a shooting spree near my hometown in Alabama. You may have heard about it on any of the national news networks, all of which were doing live stories in south Alabama before the day was done. You may also have heard about the recent shooting of an Illinois pastor who deflected one of the bullets with his bible, or the German student who killed several people at his high school. All of these stories easily made the national news, which is much more than can be said for the shootings of the Chilean students. Unfortunately, most American are presented with only negative stories about immigrants. Virtually any serious crime committed by an “illegal alien” is much more likely to make national news than a story about how foreign students were gunned down by a man with a history of anti-immigrant behavior. The national media often portrays Hispanic immigrants in a negative light, and floods the public with popular, but completely misleading or false myths about immigration. While I cannot stop this, I can at least attempt to clear up some of these myths and do my part in showing that immigrants of all nationalities contribute to and enrich the American way of life. If you have questions about the “myths” presented as “facts” through the national news media, or questions about immigration, your status or rights in this country, please write me at 184 Eglin Parkway, NE, Ste, 7, Fort Walton Beach, Florida 32548 or email me at [email protected]

Originally Published: La Costa Latina, April, 2009

The information provided in this column is for general information purposes only, and is not intended to constitute legal advice.
If you have specific legal questions, you are encouraged to contact an attorney.

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