The ex-governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, is going to jail.
To me, what is most tragic is how the son and grandson of immigrants deceived his constituents and squandered his American Dream.
He came from humble roots. His father was Serbian and survived a Nazi prison camp during WWII. His mother was the child of immigrants from Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Blagojevich was a friend to immigrants. He supported the creation of a state immigration policy office in 2005 and Welcoming Centers for immigrants in 2006. Many of his policies were pro-immigrant.
He wasn't like the governors of Arizona and Alabama, who support laws that would restrict and punish undocumented immigrants in his state.
But this legacy won't be remembered.
What will be remembered is how Blagojevich's greed and corruption drove him to care more about personal gain than he did about the people of Illinois - a state where around 14 percent of the population is foreign-born.
We expect integrity of those we elect to office. We hold them up as role models. To me, it was great to see the son of immigrants win the highest office in the state.
And equally disturbing to see him throw it all away.
In sentencing Blagojevich to 14 years in jail, U.S. District Judge James B. Zagel said it best.
“When it is the governor who goes bad, the fabric of Illinois is torn and disfigured and not easily or quickly repaired,” Zagel said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “You did that damage.”
Blagojevich will go to prison on Feb. 16 and he will have to serve 85 percent of his sentence, or almost 12 years in prison.
In the end, Blagojevich said he was sorry. But he qualified that by saying he didn't know he was breaking the law.
I don't buy that explanation and neither did the jury who convicted him.
Blagojevich did speak one truth.
"My children have had to suffer," he said, according to the Chicago Tribune. "I've ruined their innocence….It's not like their name is Smith. They can't hide. I have nobody to blame but myself."
Their dreams are shattered too.