Your Voice | Uncivil Disobedience

A College freshman dissects Tania Chairez's act of 'civil disobedience'

· March 18, 2012, 11:40 pm   ·  Updated March 21, 2012, 12:05 am

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As many know, Wharton sophomore Tania Chairez and a student from Bryn Mawr College were arrested on Wednesday for blocking traffic in front of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement field office building.

Many people, specifically those in the Penn community, have come out in support for Tania Chairez and her actions. Some say she was arrested unjustly, and others have stated that she was practicing “civil disobedience,” a practice started long ago by Henry David Thoreau. Thoreau expressed his disapproval of the Mexican-American War and slavery by refusing to pay his taxes.

The difference between Thoreau’s civil disobedience and Chairez’s uncivil disobedience is that the actions taken by Thoreau did not directly affect the freedom and safety of others. The actions taken by Tania Chairez caused traffic problems in the area for an hour. I am by no means in opposition to her goal. I am in favor of amnesty, the DREAM Act and new immigration laws that would make it easier to legally come to the United States. I do think that her means of attempting to reach her goal were unjustified and illegal and she will have to face the consequences of those actions.

This letter to the editor was submitted by College freshman Ryan Vesey. His email address is rvesey@sas.upenn.edu.

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