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ANOTHER FACE TO THE IMMIGRATION DISCUSSION

by Anna Kunkin Saturday, Apr. 01, 2006 at 12:44 AM
anna1baila@yahoo.com

I have been inundated lately with a flood of articles analyzing the pros and cons of the various immigration bills, the impact of immigration on our social structures, the changing face of the color of our population, etc. I think there is something seriously missing in almost the entire discussion and analysis about immigrants; and that is the fact that the majority of them are misplaced people.

I have been inundated lately with a flood of articles analyzing the pros and cons of the various immigration bills, the impact of immigration on our social structures, the changing face of the color of our population, etc., and aside from an article by ex L.A. Times columnist Robert Scheer, (Legalize the “illegals” truthdig.com, 3-28-06), where he talks about the history of scapegoating immigrants in this country, there is something seriously missing in almost the entire discussion and analysis about immigrants; and that is the fact that the majority of them are misplaced people.

Women, men, and children have left their homes, countries and villages; places where their families have roots in their communities that go back hundreds of years to brave a journey fraught with danger and hardship, with only the clothes on their back; only to arrive in a country where they face a questionable future; where they are confronted daily with racism and the message that they are not wanted. The majority of them have not done this out of a love of adventure. They are here because they have been forced into such miserable poverty due to the neoliberal policies imposed by our government, that they cannot survive in their homelands. They are forced to move or they will die. It's as simple as that.

Everybody should make it a point to see the film "Wetback", which gives a glimpse into what that journey is like for so many; where immigrants from South and Central America knowingly face loss of life and limb trying to board a freight train known as “the train of death” which will move them through Mexico to the north; a journey where women are raped and worse, where children die in the desert.



People don't want to leave their homes, their family, their life, to suffer and do backbreaking work; nobody does. You wouldn't, I don't. So why does so much of this discussion center around the idea of hordes of brown masses converging on us to steal our jobs and use our hard earned resources....as if this is the only motivation?



Where is the discussion about how Neoliberalism has ravaged the economies of most third world countries; how so-called “free” trade deals like NAFTA in Mexico, and huge North American food subsidies have created “dumping” of cheap food which has forced many farmers to lose their land and move to overcrowded cities where the only work available to them is in maquillas at slave wages?



Where is the discussion about the privatization of natural resources in Central and Latin America….and the entire third world for that matter, where supposed “sovereign” governments understand that they either play along and allow companies like Coca-Cola to take over the water supply, for example, or they will be Erased… Killed. Murdered… where, if there is even a hint that the people might rise-up and resist they will be taken care of by military death squads which have been trained right here at the School of the Americas; trained in suppression and torture techniques to make sure that there will be no uprising?



Where is the discussion about the implicit agreement of this by every citizen of this country? And remember, “Ignorance is not an excuse under the law”. Where is the discussion about what our tax money is paying for? Doesn’t all of this make all of us just a little bit responsible?



Another thing that is a glaring issue ...and even more irritating when it is espoused from the so called liberal-left, is the paternalistic and condescending idea that "these people" are less educated than the workers here, and this is, in fact, why they are so well suited for the meaningless toiling jobs that “Americans” don’t want. Well, if people would bother to learn Spanish, which is a real language, and talk to your gardeners, your housekeepers, the maintenance guy at your office, you would discover that many of "these people" are highly educated. You might discover that many can quote the great poets Borges and Neruda, which most of the English speaking people I know have never even heard of. You might learn that there is a deep understanding of world history; that most know from personal experience what the word “Neoliberalism” means, are well trained in critical thinking, have homes full of books and children that read them, and in short, are for the most part, more educated than your average North-American educated middle class SUV driving mall shopper.

You might also be surprised to discover, that while Mexico is rich with culture and language, not all the Spanish speakers you deal with every day are Mexicans. Many come from other countries; countries with exotic names you may not have heard of like Surinam where Dutch is spoken; and some where the food staple is pasta and not tortillas, where everything from the music and language, to the manner of dress is different from Mexico. People come from places, including Mexico, where there is richness in literature, films, music and culture that easily stands next to any European tradition.

Of course I don’t claim to have painted the whole picture here; the subject is infinitely more complex, and many will have something to add. So let’s do it. Let’s talk about this and make it real. Maybe then we would begin to see the new additions to our population, our newer neighbors, as the human beings they are, talk to them as equals, invite them into our homes as they would invite us into their hearts, and begin to learn what they have to teach us.



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LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 11 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
The social cost of unlimited immigration JOrge Saturday, Apr. 01, 2006 at 2:41 AM
Not just that johnk Saturday, Apr. 01, 2006 at 2:43 AM
What I don't want right now a white person Saturday, Apr. 01, 2006 at 8:52 AM
Analysis? Watchale Saturday, Apr. 01, 2006 at 11:04 AM
Try these me Saturday, Apr. 01, 2006 at 7:59 PM
To "me" This is Open Publishing Monday, Apr. 03, 2006 at 11:20 PM
Open Publishing Me la pela Tuesday, Apr. 04, 2006 at 9:16 AM
Anna has got it right Thanks Anna Monday, Apr. 10, 2006 at 3:04 PM
But they take refuge in the USA - why? MadMaxim Monday, Apr. 10, 2006 at 5:10 PM
IMMIGRANTS ALSO CONTRUBUTE ROLANDO Tuesday, Mar. 27, 2007 at 8:07 PM

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