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Marty Lich

I Can See Clearly Now
By Marty Lich
Feb 5, 2005 - 12:22:00 PM

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For years I have been a Brownie troop leader, sports team mom and numerous other ‘kid-involved’ Colorado volunteer worker. And for years, I have dutifully completed enrollment forms and permission slips, following the Letter of the Law to a “T” because that is how it must be done. So I sat down and filled out the 2005 Girl Scout Cookie Sales permission slip releasing my daughter to sell cookies and assuming the obligations as her parent. I came to the bottom of the form and noticed this year it had one more written line on it. A  Social Security number requirement, which caught my attention as rarely is that asked for these days. I also noticed that on the reprinted Spanish language parent permission slip there was no identification numbers called for, not even the federal ITIN Number.

For several years, none of us living in Colorado have paid too much attention to this allowed illegal immigration issue. That is, until the aspects of allowed illegal immigration began to impact our schools and hospitals. With that thought in mind, I emailed the Girl Scout Council and inquired why it is that only English language parents must provide identification numbers on their permission slips while none was required on the Spanish version of the same liability form. I received the following reply from our Girl Scout Council. “The parent's information and Social Security number are for collection purposes. Unfortunately, we do have parents who fail to turn in the money they collect for the products they take. By having all of this information, we are able to contact the individuals, and/or send them to collections” Which makes complete sense as cash is collected for the sales prior to the cookie delivery but the Spanish version of the English form does not make sense to me. Unless they are inferring that only English speaking parents may taken to a collection agency that is. If so, that is called discrimination against a specific group which the ACLU has deemed illegal.

The Girl Scout Council responded, saying that “for the reason of the requests not being the same in Spanish, as they are in English, I'm not sure.  I will contact our representative from Little Brownie Bakers” Apparently they had not noticed the discrepancy on their forms. Denise Mitchell, Sr. Director of Marketing & Communications, Little Brownie Bakers replied with the following explanation. “The current Spanish language Parent Permission Form was carefully worded with cultural sensitivity in mind. In most cases the families whose primary language is Spanish are new immigrants, and trust of any organization is an issue. When an organization asks very personal questions, their fear of being asked to return to their country of origin (regardless of their citizenship status or how long they have been legal residents) keeps them from continuing to participate in the organization.”

What an insult to the legally immigrated ‘Proud to be called an American’ Hispanic families who have the necessary identification numbers. This form assumes they will not have legal documents. Furthermore, can you imagine what would happen if Little Brownie Bakers required only Spanish speaking parents to supply personal identification? I imagine it would be a lawsuit filed on the behalf of the Spanish speaking residents for racism and discrimination.

At the same time that I received the answer on being ‘culturally sensitive’ as well as to not step on any potential illegal immigrant’s toes, I filled out a USA Hockey Program enrollment for one of their organizations elective participant programs. This enrollment form is a bit different although we also have several Spanish-speaking parents and children in that program. Just as we do in the Girl Scout programs. This registration form requires a full discloser on parent/participant information as did the Girl Scout form but with one more requirement.

Players must be USA citizens to advance to the District Camp. Those players who are not USA citizens, but are permanent residents of Colorado are invited to participate.”

Here are two separate private organizations that are both America founded, with one fundamental difference. One requires proof of eligibility based on the laws in our country and one organization does not. What are we teaching our children? That in the case of the Girl Scout organization, it is okay to discount the United State’s laws? What values are Girl Scouts of America and Little Brownie Bakers instilling in your Girl Scout daughters? Lest you all believe that your children will not notice the discrimination, think again. My daughter noticed the glaring differences right away on the Girl Scout permission slip forms.  Courtesy of our American public school education. You see, many of our public school students are fully bilingual now, including my daughter. These students realize today that exceptions are made for people who break the law. As far as our government and many of our private organizations go, if a person is an illegal alien here, the laws are shelved. Be a law-abiding resident in America and the laws are enforced with consequences.

Look around you. Note the inequality in Colorado and our country itself. What do you envision your family’s future to be if our laws continued to be ignored? Our diversified American country is founded on law. If these organizations fill with people who get to pick and choose which laws they want to uphold, what will our wonderful America be for our children who uphold all the laws?

As a mom, and a steadfast volunteer, my eyes have opened a bit more. I am taking notice now and I do not like what I see.

Editor's Note: For more than twenty years, I lived in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, an area that is more than 80-percent Mexican-American. In at least one Cameron County school district, the Head Start program was open only to Mexican-American children. Mothers of children who were not hispanic were told that the program was an ESL program, designed to prepare children who spoke primarily Spanish at home to begin school. The reality was that admittance was not based on language, but on nationality. If your child was Mexican-American, he was in, whether or not he understood the English language. -- Ken Anderson

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