Sabot L'ours (sabotlours) wrote,
Sabot L'ours
sabotlours

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Wading into the debate

LJ seems to be all abuzz about all of the protests that have taken place over the past few days regarding illegal immigration. It certainly is a hot-button issue, and since today is Wednesday, my serious post day, I thought I would add my 2 cents.

Like I have mentioned before, one must carefully listen to both sides of the argument to try to cut through the BS rhetoric. I must say that the "pro-immigrant" side is losing the battle. The race card gets played very quickly and the very basic issues of the immigration process quickly become issues of human rights or rich vs poor. My favorite comment was from the Archbishop of Santa Fe. It went something like, "They want to turn those that are in this country illegally into criminals!" Umm.....what part of "illegal" don't you understand?!?

The debate always turns to racism and how most Americans are anti-immigrant. Well, there may be a little truth to that since there has been a long history of immigrants facing roadblocks when they entered this country. There were the "Irish Need Not Apply" signs. All Italians were "Greaseballs." "Dumb Pollacks" were always the brunt of jokes. In this case, however, the issue is simply controlling who comes into the country. It is not that we don't want or need Mexicans (or any other group like Chinese) it's just that we want you to come through the front door. People argue that immigration was more open in the early 1900's. Perhaps, but most everyone came through Ellis Island and were recorded as entering the country. That should be the sole focus of this debate. Business should tell the government how many workers it needs and the government should adjust immigration quotas to reflect that need. When the door is closed, it's closed. Wait your turn. My neighbor in Yuma was from Mexico. She hated illegals. It took her years to go through the process, but she did it.

If I may get a little racist here, Mexicans really need to tone down the rhetoric. Nothing pisses off Americans than seeing Mexican flags being waved at these protests. You are telling us that you pledge allegiance to that flag, not the stars and stripes. You are also adopting the issue of illegal immigration as strictly a Mexican one. There are illegal immigrants from many countries. By being so vocal about it, it is no longer a Chinese/Guatemalan/Indonesian issue, it's strictly a Mexican one. It's like when the NAACP told Bill Clinton that he was doing a bad job with civil rights because he adopted a tough-on-crime stance. Great. You are equating being black with being a criminal.

There is also the issue of language. I will admit that I am one of those that want this to be an "official English" country. We all love the concept that this country is a melting pot. By all means keep your language and culture alive in your family, but all government business should be conducted in English. Once again, it's a matter of fairness. Why should bi-lingual signs be only in Spanish? Are there not a lot of immigrants from the Philippines, China, Korea, the Middle East? By making documents and such only available in Spanish you are putting one group above another.

I have a personal story that influences my opinion. For decades my mother has been an election judge. When the neighborhood was predominantly Polish she used to greet her neighbors in Polish. An election official made her stop because all business had to be conducted in English. They didn't want her telling people who to vote for and the election officials didn't know Polish. A few years ago she was told that her services would no longer be needed. They were going to hire someone who spoke Spanish so they could help the non-English speakers vote. Perhaps they were wrong in the past and were now trying to correct the mistake of not having a non-English speaker at the polls. But once again, what if the neighborhood is a hodgepodge of different ethnicities? Do you have to have one person from every country?

I will conclude with an attack on the "they're just doing the jobs we won't do" argument. In a way, that's true. There's no way I would pick vegetables in the hot sun for 8 hours if you paid me $5/hr. And that's precisely why business wants a stream of immigrants to come to this country. They are grateful to get that $5/hr. It's probably more money than they have ever seen in their lives. Business can then keep paying the low wage because if you don't want it, there is a line of immigrants in back of you who would be more than happy to do it. I think it's time that everyone dust off their copies of "The Jungle" from high school and see how things haven't changed all that much since the early 1900's.
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