Before I put my two cents in, I would like to present a disclaimer:
People of all races deserve dignity and respect. And in this, everyone should have an open mind especially in very vital, yet difficult
discussions. This one, represents such a conversation.
With that being said, I have to admit that I usually stay out of thread like this because I simply do not like the vitriol that has arisen around a
subject area. But, I feel that with a topic as important as this, some things need to be put into perspective.
Immigration is an important issue in America simply because it is not only a part of the United States landscape; it is a part of history. From
looking past the angry comments and banter about the situation, several things can be discerned.
1)The problem of assimilation.
I think some of the comments in this thread center around this issue. First it starts out, "I don't like them coming here," and then it ends,
"But for the people I know, they're hard working people". Hence, comes the dichotomy of feelings. I think that we are used to the stereotype of
immigrants that have come from Ellis Island. However in the case of Immigrants from Latin America (Not all illegal immigrants come from Mexico. Some
come from Nicaragua; others from Guatemala, Ecuador and other countries), they come from South of the Border. The border and the Southwestern portion
of America has become a battleground, because the new immigrant populations have formed their own enclaves and retain their own cultural practices.
As a result, stores pop up catering to their tastes; signs change to suit their language; and all American institutions readjust to suit their
Americans who are passionate about the "immigration problem" grow frustrated by the failure of certain segments of the population to assimilate with
Americanism. As a result, that anger is being fueled in not only instilling isolationist ideas, but out and out warfare. As a result, because of the
failure to assimulate initiates a paranoia derived from the residue of 9/11--built from an unhealthy mix of fear and patriotism. And that is causing
the outright prejudice that is wreaking havoc with the real issues surrounding illegal immigration and the law.
The media can be part and parcel in fueling this feeling. Take a glance at mediamatters.org's report
on false reports made by Chris Matthews
Even with this notion, it is fair to say that all ethnic cultures and races should know their history and where they come from. This knowledge adds
to the fabric of America.
For what it is worth, read this article from the Washington Post
The Myth of the Melting Pot
as well as the summary from the
NPR/Kaiser/Kennedy School Poll
2)Failure to understand other people's cultures:
It is also fair to have a cultural lesson about immigrant cultures before shouting for a "war against Mexico". Because without learning about each
other, what happens is "dehumanization" and "grouping of the 'other'" into an enemy camp.
It would help to read this introductory article about Mexican Immigrants from the Library of
. There are other sub sections there that fully go into the history of the presence of Mexicans in the United States. It is also
helpful to read this transcript about a round table discussion on immigration and
3)How do Documented Immigrants feel about this outcry?
An interesting poll comes from the New America Media website about how documented immigrants feel about the legislation happening in Congress. It
4)"Feel Good" Intentions vs. "The Law"
Also Tuesday, a national poll of documented immigrants was released, showing documented immigrants largely in favor of legislation friendly to
immigrants, even to those who are in the United States illegally. The poll, conducted by Bendixen & Associates for New America Media, a national
association of ethnic news outlets, found that the immigrant community is alarmed about the tone of the debate and feel that anti-immigrant sentiment
is growing. "This poll is significant because it takes the temperature of those closest to the current immigration debate," said Wade Henderson,
executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, a co-sponsor of the poll.
"The survey results are striking and reinforce the call for responsible immigration reform worthy of a nation built by immigrants." Eight hundred
documented immigrants were interviewed in 47 states in February and March for the study. American citizens were 61 percent of the immigrants surveyed;
legal residents were 39 percent.
They gave bad grades to all politicians involved in revamping immigration laws and immigration enforcement, including President Bush. Only 10 percent
approved of H.R. 4437. A majority -- 54 percent -- of the polled immigrants felt that the immigration debate was unfair and based on
The most troubling aspect of this thread is that people find themselves spewing hate against a group of people and equating it with enforcing the law.
And the people who encourage tolerance are also torn with the aspects of the law as well. However, I think that we need to "separate" the notion
of "people" from the idea of "the law".
It is almost unanimously agreed that as long as immigrants in America go through the proper channels, then they should be Americans. However, what
gets into murkier places inside this debate is when economics, jobs, governmental actions, and patriotism are mentioned. And what is worse, the
calling of building a wall echoing of the one constructed in Germany.
We should remember that when times get bad, there is always a scapegoat. In this debate, the anger is vented toward undocumented workers. It is
always strange that people take out their most basest emotions toward a different segment of the population instead of addressing policies affecting
us all. And while we do so, the corporations and the rich are continuing to gain money because they comply with their own set of rules. Sure,
legislation will be passed...to lull the populace. However, the underlying hatred against another race will stay because of the damage done by
governmental and media propaganda.
While Americans are pitted against each other, the real cause of this social unrest will remain unblemished. Between the lines, there will always be
some other secret clause in a bill protecting the corporations and businesses who do not want to deal with unions and will strive to work their
employees more for less. What it eventually comes down to is that the poor and the middle class are the ones exploited financially and emotionally.
So, the argument on immigration should be reframed on policy--economically and legally. But please do not debase a group of people on the faults of
the government and big business.
[edit on 5-4-2006 by ceci2006]