Guest Post by Mary Ann McCarthy, Heritage Action Sentinel
It is easy to sign up to receive updates and information from a website – anyone can do that – but it is completely different to be able to call yourself a @Heritage_Action Sentinel.
Since becoming a Sentinel last year I cannot begin to tell you how empowered I have felt and for the first time since 2008, finally feel as though I am making a real difference. My efforts are focused and effective. This opportunity has allowed me to connect with so many amazing grassroots activists that would have otherwise not been possible. I am grateful to The Heritage Foundation for putting their faith in this group of committed conservatives at Heritage Action and for allowing me to be part of their team. The following is a page out of my Sentinel diary and is intended simply as a guide for your own Action Plan as you strive to be an active participant in holding congress accountable.
What makes my case the most interesting – I didn’t have any sponsorship, no relatives, no sponsor, no amnesty. I am here based solely on my merit. – Jose Aldana
In 1997 Jose Aldana came to the United States to pursue a degree at Ozarks University in Arkansas in his area of academic passion, chemistry. He loved chemistry so much that he also obtained his Ph.D. in nanotechnology from the University of Arkansas.
Needless to say, it took a great deal of focus and perseverance. Fortunately, Jose had an excellent example in his parents, who instilled in him the same work ethic they had. A middle class family by Guatemalan standards, they worked hard, took their children to church, and were never dependent on the government. Jose emulated his parents’ virtues, which helped him to transition when he came to the U.S.
Coming to the United States was not that difficult, as he was here on a student visa with a merit-based scholarship, working to obtain his degree. There was not an “iron wall” or any “anti-immigrant sentiment” that he experienced.
“As long as you work hard,” he said, “you can come here. What is difficult is staying here. That’s a little bit harder.” Jose does not see the immigration system as unfair, but it is certainly tough. Tough as it was, it was definitely worth it.
In life, when an issue arises, you must go to the source or the root of the problem, and fix it. Simply trying to deal with the effects is not enough. Octavio Sanchez doesn’t think the Gang of Eight’s amnesty bill will work, because it doesn’t actually solve the problems related to our immigration system but simply tries to deal with the effects of illegal immigration.
As we think about immigration, we are inundated with opinions from media pundits, news anchors, and policy analysts alike. Octavio is none of the above. His perspective is important though because he is an American citizen, and it is unique because he came here from Mexico 16 years ago with his wife and children.
Immigrants who come here lawfully have the opportunity to thrive in a place where the words “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” have real meaning. That’s why Octavio came here and why he loves America.
Life Was About to Change
Happily living and working in Mexico City, life was going to change for Octavio and his family in a big way that he had not planned. His company, a large U.S. corporation, asked him if he’d like to take a position in the United States. He consulted his wife, Elizabeth, and their two children, who all gave their consent.
The United States was to be their new home.
Sentinel: A person stationed as a guard to prevent a surprise attack.
This week we announced the 29 members of Congress — 6 Senators and 23 Representatives — who achieved Sentinel status by scoring a 90% or higher on our legislative scorecard in the 112th Congress. These Sentinels are a critical component of conservative successes, representing the “tip of the spear in Washington.”
Heritage Action CEO Michael A. Needham praised the work of these lawmakers:
Americans worried about our country’s future should sleep better at night knowing a dedicated group of lawmakers are fighting for freedom every day in Washington. We congratulate these Sentinels who stood guard, vigilantly protecting our freedoms during the 112th Congress. Not only did they advance the conservative cause, but they also held back the incessant tide of tax increases, out-of-control spending, and harmful policies that breed dependency on government. In Washington, this is no easy task, which makes these Members all the more commendable.
Congressional Sentinels are not alone in their fight for freedom.