What was Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez thinking today when she took to the floor in Congress to fight for the rights of a youth activist in Vietnam while she continues to ignore the youth activists pleading for her support in her own backyard? It's not that Nguyen Tien Trung, a well known youth and pro-democracy activist in Vietnam, shouldn't be released from prison, what nags here is yet another instance of Sanchez's blatant hypocrisy.
"The recent arrest of lawyer Le Cong Dinh and Nguyen Tien Trung further demonstrates Vietnam's continuing disregard for basic civil, political and religious liberties," she told members of Congress.
Um, Loretta, hello? Did you forget that kids in your own district -- young, pro-democracy student activists -- have pleaded with you for your support in their fight for basic civil liberties? Have you forgotten the faces of young, pro-democracy activists who sat down with you and told stories of being brought here at ages so young, they don't remember anymore; of how they grew up speaking English, going to school, and eventually to college, but have been denied the rights other students have because of their immigration status?
Here's how she described Trung:
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She must have forgotten about the leaders of the DREAM Team, a group of bright, articulate, undocumented college students in OC who met with her a couple of months ago precisely to ask her to help them make changes in our political system. The students asked her to co-sponsor the bipartisan DREAM Act, a bill that would allow longtime illegal immigrant students (many here through no fault of their own, since they were brought as young kids) who go to college to be able to earn permanent legal residency, receive financial aid and be able to look for jobs legally after graduation, like other students. Loretta has refused to co-sponsor the bipartisan bill, and has said, as an almost backhanded afterthought, that she would support it later if it made it to the House for a vote.
Loretta, honey, how can you passionately chastise a "disregard for basic, civil, political and religious liberties," in Vietnam when these students in your own district, who have supported you for years, (not to mention the former illegal Latinos who voted for you after the 1986 amnesty), are being denied basic civil liberties and treated like law-breaking scoundrels despite their status as good, law-abiding college students?
How about you whip up one of your impassioned pleas on behalf of the pro-democracy youth activists in your own district tomorrow? That's something your constituents would certainly be interested in reading.