U.S. Immigration Policy Yesterday and Today
If you are without papers, have brown skin and speak Spanish, the border fence is designed with but one purpose -- to keep you out! Yet if you were lucky enough to be white and German (5 million), Irish (4.5), or British (3.5) coming across on a ship between roughly 1850 and 1930, as long as you had an address of someone who would vouch for you, welcome to America! Hypocrisy, thy name is U.S. Immigration Policy.
The events of 9-11 gave the GOP political cover to “protect” the border because of “national security.” From Arizona’s SB 1070 to similar measures in Georgia, Florida and several other states giving police powers to detain anyone who does not provide papers indefinitely, there is a war against undocumented people. It began because Al Qaeda were desert experts and were going to come across miles of it because they “hated our freedom.” So they were going to somehow abandon their porn stash and life of invisibility, spirit themselves and arms into Mexico City without being noticed, and then hike up to and cross the heavily citizen nut job patrolled US/Mexican border? Quick, triple the border patrol (we did) to protect the people!
(Why don’t these same right wing nut jobs fear a far more logical threat… Al Qaeda could into any one of dozen Canadian airports, rent a car, park it in the woods and walk across any of 2,500+ miles of unguarded Canadian border, through a forest, with explosives and grenades where no one can see/find you?) Nope we instead have thermal heat body scanners to track brown-skinned Mexicans, but nothing for the Canadians?
It is another example of overt racism brewing deep inside the USA. Older, white people are dying off and becoming an a less relevant political force. The youth are mostly color blind. The older folks fear what demographics is proving: Hispanic and black voters will soon outnumber them. So we see survivalists, endtimes loons, and militia groups on the rise. Indeed, the Tea Party, which manages to suck the media oxygen out of any room because sanity does not make for great television, is an embodiment of this irrational fear that then creates our public immigration policy.
If white-skinned Canadians were located to the south, would we be having this ridiculous immigration debate? We let millions of Italians into the US in the 30s and 40s and that begat the mafia. Wouldn’t Mexican drug crime be an argument? Maybe, but we let the former group in anyways.
Young Hispanic men of courage and character give their lives on battlefields across the globe defending the USA, return home, and there is no path to citizenship even for them? Students who grew up here and are as American as anyone in the US are denied access to education inkey subjects they have excelled at because of papers? Republican state legislators want to deny ‘anchor babies’ the right to US citizenship if their parents are illegals yet if a baby is born on a flight from Europe they have dual citizenship without fanfare?
If you are a Nobel laureate, engineer, doctor or entrepreneur from any country currently kicking our ass financially and academically? Come on down and teach us how to do it. Here’s your green card!
But if you mow lawns and do domestic chores no one else in the US wants to do? Get outta here! Now! You are taking our jobs, hurting our freedoms and ruining our economy?
Of course, no one will put it that starkly in Washington. They will merely rollout the huge unemployment numbers (forgetting under-employed), play the terrorism fear card and say “the law is the law.” Why? Because they got theirs when their parents and grandparents came to the USA a half century or more ago and have very short memories.
I would love someone to conduct a study on the roots and family origins of the entire US Congress. A cursory glance reveals many names of origin outside the US: Bachmann, Buerkle, Capito, Capuano, Diaz-Balart, Fattah, Frelinghuysen, Garamendi, Gonzalez, Hirono, LoBiondo, Neugebauer, Palazzo and Walburg to name but a few.
What if more than half the Congress was naturalised or second- and third-generation immigrants themselves, would that influence their vote? Has anyone asked these foreign sir-named representatives for THEIR papers? OK, long shot, let’s see all those long form birth certificates, one of them could be a sleeper Muslim, Kenyan, Al Qaeda agent.
It’s time for a hysteria-free, grown-up conversation on immigration. Let’s remember the past and how the US was built into the economic power it was in the 50s-80s. It was because of these brave folks who risked everything to come to the US. So let’s stop demonising the brown-skinned folks and making assumptions. Let’s allow those already in the country to stay and contribute without fear. Give them citizenship and collect taxes vs forcing them to hide. Then put in place a policy that treats the future arrivals the same as the laureates.
It’s the real American way.