This article featured on Yahoo! News in March, 2013 and received 2,990 views.
‘Border Trigger’ Puts the Breaks on Finding Real Answers for Immigration
Sophia Tesch, Yahoo Contributor Network
Janet Napolitano, the former Arizona governor and current U.S Homeland Security Secretary, has rejected the notion of a "border trigger," which would mandate that the United States secures its border with Mexico before it can offer citizenship to illegal immigrants living in the country. Yahoo News asked Arizona residents to share how their experiences and observations have shaped their perspectives on a border trigger.
FIRST PERSON | Forty years ago, my father emigrated from Tunisia. I was born there while my parents waited for his visa to clear and their new life in upstate New York to begin.
My father immigrated to this country "the right way," which didn't take as long as it might have had he been from another country because America had reasonable quotas for Tunisians at the time.
I am fortunate; the system worked for us.
I am American. My mother, born and raised in upstate New York, guarantees my American citizenship. I am grateful. But I think about the Dreamers (the young illegal immigrants who arrived in the United States at an early age) often, and what it would be like if someone showed up today and sent me back to Tunisia. Don't get me wrong; I love Tunisia and my family there, but I've lived in America for 40 years. I barely speak the Tunisian language and I can't read Arabic. I have no idea how I would begin to build a life there.
Today I live in Mesa, Ariz., located in Maricopa County, Sheriff Joe Arpaio's stomping grounds. I've heard stories of school kids screaming and crying when they hear the sound of a particular van engine, afraid that their loved ones would disappear during the height of immigration sweeps (also known as the 287(g) program) from 2008 to 2012 before the Obama administration revoked the program in Arizona.
When Mesa and other city governments stood up to Arpaio, his supporters accused them of being sanctuary cities -- those that protected illegal aliens. The term "illegal" used to make migrant workers without the proper paperwork feel like criminals, like a sub-culture of beings. They sacrifice to bring much-needed financial support to very poor families back home. Some Mesa locals treat them badly once they get here to work, but the workers put up with it in order to do what they need to do -- work.
Still, Mesa, like all of America, is a place of laws, where ostensibly there are no rewards for breaking the law. However, there comes a time to review laws that are broken often to see if they meet their intended purpose. Many immigration laws need another look. For example, why place quotas that differ so much between the demand of needed labor and the number of those who want to work? This creates an unreasonable situation. It invokes human nature and encourages immigrants to get around the law, much as they find a way around the wall. In so doing, they find themselves in an environment that necessitates further law-breaking to obtain false documentation needed to do what they intended to do - find honest work.
I believe if a reasonable legal way to work in the United States were readily available, most people would use it. There would be no need for identity theft and forgery, no need to deal with an underground system of rape and exploitation, and no need to subject themselves and loved ones to a horrible system, if there was a rational system to transport migrant workers to American farmers and manufactures for work and then come home as they wish to do.
This is where the so-called "border trigger" loses sight of the reality of the situation. Proposing to seal the border before doing any of the complex work of comprehensive immigration reform is part of a concerning trend. It is a shortsighted denial of what's happening on the ground.
It ignores the reality that comprehensive immigration reform will require a delicate dance of diplomacy with many nations. Divisive wall-building is not the best place to start international discussion. Changing migrant workers' behavior also takes time to implement. So does reviewing worker quotas and forging diplomacy on immigration, which can negate the need for "Berlin-style" heavy militarization of the border.
One thing about walls: Humans who want to get around walls bad enough will. Law enforcement can slow trafficking down, but not stop it completely when people are desperate to get to the United States for work. That is why I do not support the border trigger. All it will accomplish is to put the brakes on before we can arrive at real answers that are good for Arizona and good for America.
Can a second marriage work? Yes!
Can a second Marriage Work? Yes!
Tips to a Successful second Marriage
By: Sophia Tesch
Divorce can be one of the most painful experiences that a human can endure. It is natural after experiencing that type of pain to ask the question "Can second marriages work?" and the answer is Yes! After some personal preparation a second marriage can work.
A common mistake recently divorced people make is to rush into a new relationship. Temptation is strong to escape from the emotional pain and loneliness of divorce by submerging oneself into a new affair. This type of relationship is less likely to last because no time was taken to review what issues may have caused the previous marriage to fail. It is important to take some time not only to heal from the previous relationship but to take an inventory about what worked and what didn't. To make personal changes to become a better partner as well as to review what type of partner is best for you.
It is easy to say the other person in the marriage was completely responsible for its failure. When some time has passed and one can reflect on the issues from both sides of the marriage strengths and weaknesses can be seen more clearly. Often some learning is required, some truths told to one's self, and some new ways of coping established in order to enter a second marriage as a person who is able to sustain a long term relationship.
Another purpose of time alone is to become a whole person. It is possible that a previous marriage didn't work because a marriage partner was expected to fill a personal gap. The hope in turn is that a new partner can then fill such a gap and this sets a relationship up for failure. It is important that each partner entering a marriage is in his or her own way whole. It is good for personalities to compliment each other so that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts , not a crutch on which one or both partners are leaning on. A marriage must be entered into not because a couple feels they need to, a successful marriage is entered into because the people involved want to.
Second marriages can bring with them more complications and stresses than a first marriage. If there are children involved from previous marriages there are relationships to be built with them. Many times this involves some sort of interaction with ex-spouses. Boundaries must be put into place and an understanding that nothing will come between the health and happiness of the partnership of the second marriage.
Many times when a couple enters into a second marriage they have learned from past mistakes, are more mature and self assured in their outlook on life and are more prepared to enter a long term loving relationship. People who have a better sense of who they are as individuals and what their personal boundaries are have a very good chance of having a fulfilling and successful second marriage that can truly last a lifetime.
Thanking Vets on Veterans' Day!
This article was originally published by Yahoo! Contributor Network on 11/11/2011
5 Ways You Can Say ‘Thank You’ This Veteran’s Day
Showing Gratitude in Meaningful Ways that Our Veterans Will Truly Appreciate
Sophia Tesch, Yahoo Contributor Network
It's Veteran's Day, a day to thank the brave warriors who answer the call to serve and protect us. Americans have the privilege to live in a place where we can go about our daily lives secure and protected like no other country on Earth because young men and women continue to raise their right hand and take the oath to protect our country. For the past ten years, America has been at war. Nevertheless, young men and women continue to make the oath knowing that politicians will place them in harm's way. They do it because they feel it will make a better life for their family, their community, and their country.
Their dedication inspires me. I want to fight for them here in America, in battles of justice where Veterans continue to be honorable and generous, and we the civilian and the politicians we elect, continue to take them for granted. Many do not think that Veteran's Day is a time for political discussion. That type of thing is frowned upon. I think Veteran's Day is exactly the day for political discussion until these warriors and their families who sacrifice so much have the benefits and care that they deserve.
Let's do more than say 'Thank You'. Let's put that emotion into motion, and demonstrate gratitude in meaningful ways. No one person has to do everything, but if more people did something, just one thing, we could make life better for our veterans and their families and that is a great way to say 'Thank You'!
You can help out, give some time to a military family. Particularly when you know they have a soldier or sailor who is serving overseas. Help your military neighbor out by offering to mow the lawn, shovel the walk, take the kids to the park, or bring over something to eat to take the burden off the spouse left at home. Maybe stay and have a talk. All parents know the value of having a few minutes to yourself for self-care and the value of another adult to talk to every once and awhile. Some military spouses go 18-months, even 2 years without seeing their wife or husband regularly. That kind of true dedication to our country deserves community support. There is no cost but time.
If you don't know any military families personally there are also many kinds of volunteer opportunities with the Department of Veteran Affairs . Take some time to learn more about how you can lend your time and talents to help veterans and their families.
Hire a Vet
The Obama administration launched the Veterans Job Bank website today, aimed to connect employers with veterans that have the appropriate skill-sets needed to fill jobs. This is a win-win for the employer and the returning veteran. Congress will be voting on the Vow to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, which includes tax credits of $2,400 to $9,600 for employers who hire unemployed veterans and keep them employed for a least a year. One way to say thank you to a vet is to offer him/her a job.
When the military is at work, they are in a war zone. They are often not in a position to keep up with the current events and issues that matter to them most. Because they are busy defending us, some of us can be busy defending them keeping up with veteran's issues and staying in contact with our elected officials to be sure that they are honoring our men and women in uniform with the high standards that they deserve.
The Independent Budget of the Department of Public Affairs for Fiscal Year 2011 identifies the following as critical issues for veterans, here are a few:
Donations to the USO, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), or The Disabled American Veterans Memorial Foundation are just a few of the many fine organizations that support our military. If you are in the position to offer a free service or discount to veterans that is another way to give back. When you support these organizations, you support our military in a meaningful way.
Get involved with your neighborhood, church, or civic group to brainstorm innovative ways to help veterans in your community. There are many ways that people can offer their time and talents to the needs of veterans in their community. Don't just say thank you this Veterans Day, show a veteran your gratitude in a meaningful way.
Click here to see a list of fine businesses offering veterans freebies and discounts on Veteran's Day.
I wrote this article in March of 2011 and I am quite proud of it. Not only because it got the most views of any article I have written 2, 298, but it also created a buzz that seemed to cause the Jell-o ad campaign for Jell-o Temptations to pull ads that depicted a very odd story about torturing children for taking their parents temptations. Personally I think Jell-o Temptations are pretty good. It was sad that they had to be tainted by such horrible advertising. -ST
Does Jell-o Temptations Commercial Go Too Far?
Sophia Tesch, Yahoo Contributor Network
Today while watching CNBC an ad for the new Jell-o product Temptations came across the screen thank goodness my kids were in the other room at the time. It was a mother and a father standing in front of an open refrigerator threatening their children with eternal banishment to a dark snake infested cave should they happen to take their dessert.The advertisement bordering on mental child abuse was very disturbing. There was some push back on Twitter with some people showing concern for the ad and speaking about how they would not want to purchase the product because of the ad. I had to agree. Click here to decide for yourself if you think this ad is too over the top.
I understand the feeling of children raiding the snacks so I got that part. However, this type of intimidation is not funny at all to me. It raises serious questions and concerns in my mind about what I imagine to be a series of "yes" people who didn't object to this ad as it made its way from concept to airing on TV. Did they all think this acceptable? Were none of them parents? Is this really what our society has come to in the way of humor? I really hope not!
I had reservations about writing this article because I did not want to reinforce this behavior however I felt attention should be called to it so that companies like Jell-o and others would know this type of scare tactic is unacceptable and frankly quite disappointing from its usually upbeat and fun commercials. I hope their advertising department can learn from this and do better next time. Either that or put a warning on the ad so I can get my kids out of the room. I am doing my best to raise happy children and not ones in need of psychological therapy if I can help it.
Facing Breast Cancer with Homeopathy and Humor My Mother’s Courageous Story
Sophia Tesch, Yahoo Contributor Network
Oct 8, 2011
I'd just seen the play Unbeatable, at the Phoenix Theater, it was an amazing story about a woman fighting for her life against Breast Cancer. So it seemed a bit surreal to me a few months later when my mother and I had a phone conversation and she told me they found "something" during her routine mammogram. That something turned out to be Stage 1 Breast Cancer. It was as if God knew we would be going through this as a family and gave me a ninety-minute training session in theatrical form. The play gave me some insights that became very valuable as my family and I attempted to be there for my mother during this battle for her life.
Over the next nine months, my mother began her treatment. She went through many emotions. At first it was "This can't be happening." which transitioned to "How did this happen?" to "Who is responsible for this happening?" to "Oh shit this is happening!", and finally, "This happened, what are we going to do about it now?" When my mother wanted to know "Why?" because, she's a very analytical person, she went through an inventory of everything she may have done "wrong". She had hormone replacement therapy, could that have been the cause? She eats a fairly healthy diet, goes for walks for exercise, and took homeopathic supplements every morning. She doesn't smoke, drink or eat overly fatty foods. She felt that all of this due diligence should have bought her some sense of security. The fact is she had done nothing wrong. But Cancer didn't care.
Chemotherapy treatments began just a week after the diagnosis came through. The doctors were amazed how well mother did. My mother took homeopathic remedies since the early 1990's and continued to supplement the Western medicines given to her with some Eastern herbal assistance. She took garlic capsules to help prevent discoloration of her nails which is a common side effect of chemo therapy. She took calcium to keep her bones strong and 1,000 IU of Vitamin D in addition to multi-vitamins and Immulox spray to keep her immune system up the spray prevented secondary infection from occurring in her mouth and gums . She took a natural laxative to help with the constipation that accompanies chemo and CoQ10 tablets to help combat "chemo brain" and fatigue.Cell Food, rebuilt her cells from chemo, and arnica pellets taken under her tongue, while she placedarnica lotion on her legs which helped keep down the swelling and heal faster after her lumpectomy. She wore sea bands on her wrists; they are elastic, covered with fabric that had a hard plastic nub on them. They are found in travel stores and at some drugstores, they are usually used to combat motion sickness. My mother used them as an acupressure that helped prevent nausea caused by the treatment. The doctors were impressed by how quickly my mother healed and took to the treatment.
All of these remedies were helpful, but they were unable to prevent the inevitable hair loss that goes with chemo. This was one of the hardest things for my mother to go through. She and her hair dresser, who was also a Cancer survivor, went through the process ceremoniously. My mother was unable to get her usual perm and color, something she treated herself to once every few months and that may have been one of the most difficult realities of her recovery. She was able to go and choose two wigs from a local group who offered wigs to Cancer patients but in Arizona the wigs were hot and uncomfortable to wear. She tried scarves but they always seemed to slip. She was frustrated as she tried to figure out what to do. Then my mother, with her usual style, found some felt beanie hats in bright happy colors and decorated them with broaches of various patterns and designs. It was a good solution and with this problem solved she went on to face the rest of her ordeal. We gave her even more love during those trying months. My mother kept a great attitude and sense of humor through the whole process, which may have been her greatest tool against the Cancer that was foolish enough to invade her.
When the text came through on my phone two days ago, "Mammogram clear 2 years cancer free!", a warm feeling of relief and joy filled my heart. It has been two years and nine months since the day my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It has been one year since my paternal grandmother lost a very sudden battle with Breast Cancer, within four months it was over-- Cancer won. After hearing about my grandmother I called for an appointment to get a mammogram, being forty years old it was on my to do list, but I didn't consider it a priority. My mammogram came back clear which was a relief. Prevention is the key, if there is a battle to be won get into the battle right away and take the Cancer out while it's weak if you can. Don't allow it to take hold. My mother is a very strong and courageous lady. I am so thankful and blessed to have her around to be my mother for many more years to come.
For more information about Breast Cancer visit:
Cancer Hope Network
Breast Cancer Support
Hoping for More '9/12 Moments' 10 Years After the Attacks9/12 Moments: Helping Others, Looking Out for Neighbors and Contributing to Humanity's Well-Being
Nominated for Yahoo! Voices Notable Content of the Year 2011
Yahoo! is asking Americans how September 11 changed them. Below is an account from a reader.
I was born in Sousse, Tunisia, a town nestled on the Mediterranean coast, where my father was born and raised. Before the Jasmine Revolution, no one knew where it was. Now they do.
My father was raised Muslim, and my mother was raised Catholic. They taught me people from different backgrounds can get along. They can even fall in love on occasion. My parents are still married after 42 years. We celebrate holidays for both traditions, and I've grown to encompass the best of both.
After the planes inflicted their devastation on New York City on 9/11, my first prayers went to the victims, first responders and the soldiers I knew would soon be deployed. Then I prayed for the families of those affected by the destructive choices made by a few extremists that day.
Then my prayers went up for my father's protection.
With his thick foreign accent, curly salt-and-pepper hair and brown eyes, those frightened after 9/11 could easily mistake him as "one of them." I feared deeply for his safety then, and I still fear for him today.
My concerns have merit. Near where my father lives,Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh gas station owner, was murdered because he was perceived to be Arab by a foolish man agitated from the news of the attacks.
That kind of ignorance haunts me. I traveled many times with my father without incident. However, after 9/11, he's constantly pulled aside by TSA agents, his bags searched -- given the full treatment, so to speak -- just in case.
My father is American and has been a naturalized citizen for most of his adult life. My brother currently serves in the U.S. Army Reserves. He was stationed in Iraq. My family is patriotic because we understand the treasure that is the American Dream.
I know who I am and who my father is. I know my family and am proud to be a part of it. Yet, I don't volunteer information about my heritage because I don't know what kind of response I'll get.
"Your family in Tunisia will all burn in Hell unless they accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior," my born-again neighbor told me.
As a second-grade kid, I thought, "That can't be true." Later, when the neighbor told my mother the same thing, Mom replied, "That's funny. That's what the Muslims say about you, too." The neighbor looked shocked initially, and then her look softened as she and my mother shared a good laugh at the truth of that statement.
As much as I'm horrified by 9/11, I am immensely grateful for 9/12.
9/12 was a day when neighbors looked out for each other; blood banks were fully supplied with donations and people everywhere wanted to help. Globally, humanity united to say, "We are all Americans."
Since then, the social climate has become increasingly divisive, at times volatile. Regardless, I'm determined to make decisions that result in more 9/12 moments so terror will not win. That's how 9/11 continues to change me today.
About this page
This page includes a selection of featured articles and writing samples from recent years.