Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Where do civil rights begin and end?

Yesterday in con law, we had to make up an hour of class on top of our normal class time, so the whole day ran really long. But the last hour of con law was just a PBS documentary on the civil rights movement, including the famous scenes from Emmett Till's murder/funeral/killers' trial and footage of the Montgomery bus boycott. I pulled out my pictures of the little kids I used to tutor and stared at them a while. I carry their photos around to remind me of why I went to school. The whole thing got me wondering about the civil rights movement, citizenship and what it means to be an American. Where do things like 287(g) and detainee health care fit into the civil rights movement? Do they? Or do they highlight the need to recognize something greater than civil rights? Does an individual have a right to trust the law enforcement officers of their community, regardless of whether they are a legal resident or not? Do inmates have the right to receive prompt and adequate treatment for medical concerns, regardless of whether they committed a heinous crime? (Thinking beyond immigrant detainees now, but the same question applies... What about civil immigration violators being held in detention centers? Do they have the right to prompt and adequate medical treatment?) And what about kids who grow up in the US illegally... do they have a right to stay in the US? Do they have a right of access to the same resources for attending college as their US citizen counterparts? If any of these rights exist, where do they come from? What kind of rights are they? Got a lot of thoughts on my mind about this today.

1 comment:

CP said...

sometimes being in law school is really hard because we are forced to think about the tough issues of our society EVERY DAY! I could totally use a break from thinking about the economic crisis and what we should do to fix it. ugh!