US Immigration

Several Facebook friends were posting a viral status meme that went as follows:

You pass the North Korean border ILLEGALLY –
you get 12 years hard labor. You pass the Afghan border ILLEGALLY – you
get shot. You pass the American border ILLEGALLY – you get a job,
driver’s license, allowance for a place to live, health care, education
and billions of dollars spent so that you can read a document. We……
carry passports in other countries or face jail time. Repost this if you
agree.

The first thing that I noticed about this status message was that it didn’t ask me for an opinion, just whether I agreed with the premise of the facts being presented. If it is true about North Korea and Afghanistan, then I agree because I know the potential is there for people to come to the US and work, live, drive, learn and a lot of them do have the opportunity to read documents in their native language. Plus, yes, other countries request that you have a passport to visit. I don’t think I would’ve been imprisoned when I lived in a European country, but I would have been deported back to America. When I was pulled over by the police, they didn’t ask for my passport, only my driver’s license and proof of insurance, so the whole passport thing is really just to get into the country, and you need it to get back into the US, too. Nobody questioned if I had a right to be there while I was there, even though I clearly did not speak the same language as the people who were born there, and there was no law that said it was okay for me to be questioned at will about it. Anyway, the status message didn’t request that I repost if I thought there was an injustice, just whether I agreed with the information.

The other thing that I noticed about this status message was that it compared the US to North Korea and Afghanistan. Now, maybe the waters got muddied in the past 10 years for obvious reasons, but I’m pretty sure America is the Home of the Free and Land of the Brave. We’re built on the superior inclusiveness that the Statue of Liberty represents.

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

This includes more than the productive, rich members of another country’s society. This includes more than doctors from Canada or retirees from Germany. This includes the poor Mexican family that wants a better life and education. This includes the Cuban family that wants freedom. It includes the desperate poor people who cannot go through the current immigration system. This is why the immigration system must be changed to be more inclusive. I’m all in favor of people coming here and receiving legal documentation. As a citizen, I have a birth certificate, social security number, and driver’s license. I think it should be easier for immigrating people to receive these documents and move about freely and fearlessly within this country.

America is MY country but it can also be YOURS. That is the unique beauty about America that made it better and greater than the other countries that require special paperwork just to enter the border for a visit, that imprison and kill people for violating those laws. We don’t tell you what language you can speak, we accept you and welcome you to work, grow your family, and contribute to society. We understand that our nation becomes stronger with diversity and cultural enrichment, and that the “melting pot” was an iconic phrase meant to demonstrate our acceptance and inclusiveness of everyone who wants to be an American.

From the vast number of people who speak Spanish, it makes sense to offer documents in Spanish! We’re America, we don’t tell people that they can only speak one language or that they’re required to learn a specific language. The government represents the people, the government doesn’t dictate the life of its people.

Allow me also to point out that the terrorism committed against our country in the past 15 years was done by white Americans and Muslim extremists. People immigrating from Cuba, Mexico or any other foreign land that constitutes the majority of our immigrating people do not fit this profile and are not a danger to society as a group.

There’s a lovely person in a truck in my area who has the bumper sticker:

If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you can read this in English, thank a soldier.

First of all, it’s written in English so anyone who can read it, would be reading it in English. It’s just a matter of where this person decides to drive the truck that it may become more bizarrely obvious with less implication. Next, Conquistadors opened the door to British settlement, which lead to the revolution and an establishment of the United States. There were also French settlers and so on. In fact, British royalty spoke French for the longest time, leaving English to be the crude, uneducated language of the peasant. Honestly, the only part of the bumper sticker that made sense to me was thanking a teacher for literacy. That’s a sentiment that we need to hear more because teachers really bust their humps teaching children and adults. There are even ESL [English as a Second Language] teachers who teach young children to speak and read English fluently while dumb US-born adults like myself just try to stay coherent in English as our first and only language.

I wonder why LOLcat is okay but Spanish is evil?

Xenophobia is nothing new. For as long as America has existed, there have been elitists who have claimed a non-existent privilege and entitlement to being born in the US over those who have immigrated into the country from elsewhere in the world. Discrimination of immigrants is nothing new, but it definitely is not right and should not be tolerated in policy. Let the hateful and fearful publicly declare their hate and fear, as it is a secured right in the Constitution, but let us also educate and promote tolerance so that there is less hate and less fear.

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