Immigration


Monday, May 1st 2006 will be a day of…what? Protest? Celebration? Boycott? Will it be a day to be remembered for strides made in the brotherhood of the many cultures who dream the American dream? Or will all hell break loose as a primarily Latino throng takes to the streets of cities across the country, seeking recognition for the contributions made by immigrants to society. These are not simple questions, and there are no simple answers. The reason that simplicity can find no foothold in this discussion is quite simple however. RHETORIC, spelled o-b-f-u-s-c-a-t-i-n-g-b-u-l-l-s-h-i-t.

I… am an immigrant. My parents are Immigrants, my aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and most of their friends who had any sense were also immigrants. Now what could have been the cause of my family’s mass migration to America? Well, as far as I’ve been able to find out in my research, as much as everybody loved the “homeland” on an emotional level, there weren’t any jobs, there wasn’t any food, and life had reached a level of intolerability that made immigration the only viable option. And I believe that any human being faced with such dire circumstances, and deciding NOT to do everything possible to ensure that their children and old ones have a roof, a bed, food and a future, is a coward. PERIOD. And personally, I could give a damn about “legal” or “illegal” when it comes to immigration. I happen to be legal, but if my family needed what they got “over there”, than goddammit, that’s where I’d go. And so would you. Let’s never forget that we are talking about people.

The rhetoric, which comes at us from all sides, intends to take our focus off of the real issues. The real “illegal” immigrants are the huge multi-national corporations that take as much as they can, from whomever they can, wherever they can. The governments of the world powers want us to think that things such as borders, passports and visas are real and necessary. They whip us into an emotional frenzy by equating patriotism with belief in a god who has no place in the boardroom. Do you seriously think, even for one second, that Exxon-Mobile, Halliburton or Cargill gives a rats ass about patriotism? Shit! I would guess you could populate a small Central American country with all the so-called “illegal” immigrants working as domestics in the households that make up the bulk of those companies.

Let me set the record straight. Am I in favor of over-crowded schools? NO. Do I think it’s a good idea to give instant health benefits away to recent immigrants while the elderly are completely fucked by their bullshit healthcare providers? NO. Am I in favor of foreign criminals finding fertile ground for their activities in this country? Of course not. But schools are overcrowded, under-staffed and under-equipped for well-documented reasons other than immigration, legal or otherwise. Healthcare in this country is in an appalling state of affairs independent of immigration. And criminals do what they do because those we pay to protect us from them aren’t doing a very good job. Muhammad Atta wasn’t some disenchanted loner who found himself suddenly behind the wheel of a jet liner. He was convicted for blowing up an Israeli bus in 1986, was serving time and with U.S. intervention, set free. Again, the people we pay to protect us didn’t do their job. Personally, I don’t lay awake at night, worried that a disenchanted Salvadoran will crash a Cessna into stack of strawberry palettes up in Oxnard.

Yes, there are major issues concerning immigration and documentation in this country. But I am a skeptic when the rhetoric requires waders. When I remember what my father did for us in bringing us here, and why, I can’t help feeling that these issues have faces, real human faces, with the same hopes and dreams we all share. I…am an immigrant.