Saturday, March 27, 2010

4th Post - Immigration

Sorry for not updating this for a bit...vacation makes a person lazy!

Now, immigration is something that I have had mixed views on for awhile now. I used to take the stance of, if you are an illegal immigrant then you should be kicked out of the country. But now I look at the issue of illegal immigrants differently. Many citizens in this country take their citizenship for granted. We were born here, raised here, never really questioned what our home country was to us. And we were never questioned by it. But what about our parents? Or, if not our parents, our grandparents, or if not out grandparents, our great-grandparents? And so on. Unless you are a full-blooded Indian (which I use that term out of respect since most Indians I know prefer not to be called Native Americans, since their ancestors were not native to an "America"), you do not come from this country. This country became the country you live in because someone in your family in the past chose to do possibly the hardest cultural thing a human being has to do and that is to emigrate to another nation.

I am personally a mutt of Russian, Irish, and English...and probably a whole lot of other things. I know mainly about my Russian history. My dad's mother's father (paternal-maternal great-grandfather?)lived in Russia and came to America on a boat, and landed at Ellis Island. My family still has his original documents (er, somewhere, they do seem to MIA at the moment) from when he became an American citizen. That's how I am here, I call this country my home, but I could just as easily call Russia my home.

So I begin to wonder. Why do we hate these people so much now, that just want what our predecessors wanted for us? And no, you may think it is easy to get that American citizenship so many of millions of people want, but it's not.

If you follow that link, you will go to the official US Immigration site. It's rather confusing about a) what you need to actually do, compared to b) helpful things to do, and c) what order you should do them in. And while there is an option to change the site's language, it starts off in English, which I can only imagine is going to confuse people who aren't fluent in English a lot more.

This also seems to be something that people complain about a lot, the "I shouldn't have to press 1 for English" thing. Oh, that's right, because we are a totally one culture nation that should not give people the option of being able to fully understand what they are doing. Right, makes a whole lot of sense. Also, I don't believe it is honestly that difficult to press a button to continue whatever call you are making. The lack of respect for the new immigrants in a country that was based upon the idea of immigration and starting over and FREEDOM of all kind is beyond frightening.

It's frightening:
* That we complain about new immigrants having jobs that most other citizens would never even apply for (in my experience: mall janitors, apple pickers, gas station attendants, stock-room workers at grocery stores) just because they will take on any job that will keep them in this country, and so they can help their family.

* That we complain about groups of immigrants (such as the Somalian population in Portland) when we could never know the every day terror they lived through, and what coming to America represents for them

* That it is such a complicated process to even become an American citizen when we complain about what illegal immigrants due to society (if we made it easier for them to be LEGAL then it would be better for EVERYONE).

* That we are building walls and fences to keep people out, instead of building doors to let people in in a safe, proper, and official manner.

Do you understand what having so many MILLIONS of undocumented people in this country does to it? It stresses the health care system, the education system, the economy...

Health Care: People who don't have insurance or who are illegal tend to use Emergency Rooms as their main physician and pharmacy, since having a normal physician is much more complicated. This takes precious time away from severely injured people who really do need the expertise of ER staffs, and many bills can go unpaid.

Education: Children of illegal immigrants are usually not sent to school, since many home demographics are needed in any student's file. This means that in the coming generations, the education level of the citizens of America is going to be extremely stratified, with many people with little education looking for jobs they will not be skilled for.

Economy: Many illegal immigrants work for pennies on the dollar, creating a horrific system of don't ask, don't tell. Employers pay their undocumented workers wages that they couldn't get away with documented citizens. In return, employers keep their profits up, and they don't sell out their employees to the state. This brings down the already hurting American economy, when people are being paid just enough to get by, if that, instead of paying them a fair amount, which they could put back into the system more than when they are making a dollar an hour.

My basic point is this. We don't need the fences, we don't need all the rules. We need more centers, more help, and more understanding for the people trying to emigrate to the USA today. They deserve to live here, just like we do. Their languages, cultures and customs should be welcomed, not pushed away.

The New Colossus

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. '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!'"
-The Statue of Liberty, written by Emma Lazarus

1 comment:

  1. Emma, my best friend is an immigrant. You should chat with her. I'll give her the link to your blog. You would be amazed at the hoops through which she has jumped to be a legal resident alien.