Americans have some real funny ideas about immigrants lately. I can’t quite put my finger on why it seems so many people in the USA, despite all of us actually being the product of immigration (unless you happen to be a Native American) seem to have such vitriolic attitudes towards immigrants or people from other countries (read: anyone with brown skin, or an accent, you just don’t hear anything these days about “Those damn Irish, Norwegians, Canadians, French, Germans, or Spaniards…) coming to the USA either legally, or illegally. Our economy is on a good recovery, stock markets are great, and for the most part the jobs lost in Bush’s recession have been recovered and new ones are being created. So what's your beef NOW?
First it was “They’re taking our jobs!” (they weren’t). Then it was ‘they’re so violent!’ (not as violent as WE are! We kill 30k of our own each year alone! That’s as many in one year here that have died in the last DECADE in Mexico due to drug cartel violence). Then it was ‘they don’t speak English!’. Well, yeah, most of them do, and not every town in the USA speaks English, and it’s always been that way.
But unfortunately, it’s nothing new at all, and has been occurring since we ‘founded’ this nation (read: when British people rebelled against their crown and seized 13 British colonies). From the onset of the creation of this nation, people started referring to themselves as ‘natives’, even though they were anything but. They referred to anyone that didn’t speak English, or had a thick accent, as immigrants, although when you look at this country, no less than 14 distinct American accents are in use, and even more foreign languages. We have Spanish, French, German, Norwegian, Italian, Irish, Cuban, Filipino, Chinese, Japanese, and Native cities/towns in the USA where English simply isn’t used, and it hurts exactly nobody. I guess we forget that.
But this latest round of immigrants has people on the far, far right howling for everything from land mines to be deployed on the border, to execution squads like the minutemen, to whatever cruel method of ridding the country of unwanted visitors imaginable (however this is not true of all right-wingers, I know plenty of reasonable Republicans who have the same opinion as I on this topic – that compassion and understanding is needed). The latest flare up is in regards to hundreds of small children that showed up at the border, and these people are actually suggesting some really cruel things be done to them… it makes me absolutely sick.
Why hate children? Most of them are 5 to 12 years old and have NO CLUE why so many so-called ‘Patriotic, God-Fearing Americans’ HATE them so much. After all, the USA advertises itself the world over as a bright shining beacon of democracy, freedom, liberty, and opportunity. Can you really, truly, blame children for their ignorance of our system? Really? Why would we pretend to be this great compassionate nation, and then just be cruel to child refugees? They came here with the idea that we're the good guys. Captian America. Now we're showing a whole generation of kids, we say one thing, and do another.
Why? What is WRONG with us? Thought we were some sort of 'Christian' nation, weren't we? Guess that's all lip service and branding.
From the recent shit-fit in Murrieta, CA to the absolutely draconian and unnecessary laws passed in a Texas town – effectively barring any facility from housing immigrants for processing, or allowing any Border Patrol in their city to enforce federal law (and, excuse me, how stupid is that when you are COMPLAINING ABOUT UNCHECKED IMMIGRATION??). This unchecked hatred, re-enforced by the trolls of the Internet, extreme-right morons like Texas Gov Rick Perry, or AZ Gov Jan Brewer is not only dangerous to our youth who are learning “It’s ok to hate”, it’s dangerous to our national security.
Why would I say that? Let’s look back to another country that went down this road. We are getting DANGEROUSLY close to acting just like it. After WWI, Germany was a humiliated nation. Having been defeated soundly by other world powers, attention turned to domestic issues. Poverty was rampant, and people were looking for someone to blame (sound familiar?). Then along comes this charismatic politician who claimed he knew the real issue. It was those damn Jews! Immigrants! Non-German mongrels! Yes… THEY were the problem and had to be dealt with!
Germany started by rounding them all up. Anyone not with blonde hair and blue eyes was asked to show their papers (a lot like AZ’s now-overruled immigration law), or wear a gold Star of David on their shirt/coat to identify them as Jews. Then, deportations followed. People were either told to get out of Germany because they weren’t “Aryan” enough, or jailed. The German population armed themselves heavily. Fear and propaganda was spread: Jews were dirty, evil, greedy, and wanted to take your jobs.
Wow, sounds pretty familiar doesn’t it?
And the German people bought it, hook, line, and sinker. The next thing you knew it, Germany was pre-emptively invading other countries under the guise of ‘Protecting Germans abroad’ (Bush Doctrine), rounding up people and putting them into labor-death-murder camps (a lot like some of our correctional and immigration facilities, and no, I am not exaggerating), and of course telling the world it was for their benefit to have a strong, pure Germany (we do tend to put our interests above that of the entire world).
Oh, and we did it here too. We rounded up all the Japanese Americans during WWII and put THEM in camps! Look what we’re doing now.
Fascism is a funny thing. It creeps up on you like an insidious infection. Just like cells, people are infected with hate, rabid-nationalism, and fear of anything or anyone different from them and it spreads exponentially. The next thing you know, politicians rise up to meet the demand of hate, and serve it.
We cannot, as a nation, allow this to happen.
Yes, the immigration system needs fixing, but don’t think for a second that it’s something that can be fixed with hateful policy, draconian constructs like minefields or walls, or simply stepping up deportation as Obama has done (he holds the record out of any president in history for deportations).
I believe in root causes – and root solutions.
The root cause of all of this is Americas demand for illegal drugs.
Want to stop the influx of frightened children fleeing for the US, or adults that are willing to risk their lives to flee for the USA in hopes of safety? Change our drug policy. Create a better guest worker program. Assist other countries in fighting cartels. Build up other nations rather than trying to out-compete them.
If you don’t solve any of that, not one damn thing will change.
It’s not the children’s fault. It’s not the fault of people who want to get away from violence and do everything they can for a better life. It’s the fault of the people/nation that created the problem in the first place.
It’s our fault, we are failing on a moral, diplomatic, and international level. The President can only do so much, say so much, or issue so many orders. He is not a god. He cannot snap his fingers and make immigration stop. Congress needs to get its act together and send Obama a bill he would sign instead of consistently sabotaging the executive branch. It’s like we don’t care about our country anymore. Either that, or we created one so complex that we no longer understand it. In any case, something has to be done, but I will fucking draw the line in the sand at blaming children.
Do. Not. Blame. CHILDREN!
You want to fix immigration? Want to stop the flow of illegal or undocumented people into our country? Start by making good policy at home, end by helping the countries where the people are coming from in the first place. I guarantee you that it is mostly our fault anyway what is happening in places like Ecuador, Guatemala, and Mexico. We destabilized their governments, and made a power vacuum that is only filled by gangs and drug cartels, all while we buy their drugs. Thanks CIA. We try to micromanage the world, while getting high off their supply, creating the situation that makes them flee their homes for here. Get it now? Can we stop blaming CHILDREN for our problems now, and can we stop acting like them? Ok. Good.