All For Naught

Jose Vilson Jose

Immigration in Contempt

It bothers me that the children of immigrants can so blatantly show disrespect to present day immigrants.

Let me give a little backdrop. I was in a car once with a group of young women, and one of them said, “I have very strong views on immigration.” I said, “I do, too.” (wink) She went on to talk about immigrants as if they’re that much different from us. Another young lady went on to talk about how they should be made to speak English if they’re going to be part of this country. Naturally, I’m looking at them, and the other young lady present, wondering how anyone could agree to these sentiments knowing the history of this country, and their own families.

For one, this country, the country that people love / fear and want to hold up right next to G_d, is in fact, a country of immigrants. Unfortunately, the indigenous people of this country were ripped and raped off / of their homelands, and had to settle in lands that these new immigrants made for them when they developed a system of colonization from sea to shining sea. And the definition of who was considered “immigrant” and “foreign” changed depending on who these higher-ups wanted coming in the country and who they sought to benefit from.

Nowadays, the descendants of these immigrants, the presidents, land owners, business executives, and billionaires publicly set an agenda of anti-immigration to instill a sense of nationalism in the rest of us. And what’s worse, we’re eating it up, even when many of us are treated like second-class citizens. What’s the difference between the trailer park and the barrio? The hood and the run-down suburb? Believe it or not, not much, but we continue to segregate ourselves because we have a misconstrued view of the class system here.

So, knowing all that, we now see that people who do come to this country, whether by visa or by more clandestine methods, come because they want a better life. When people see the word “immigrant,” they’ve been taught to think “uncouth,” “Mexican,” “tons of kids,” and “Spanish-speaking” by the images on television, newspapers, and their own government. Yet, there’s a group of “illegal” Irish immigrants working off Long Island right now, wishing they were home but thankful for making a little more money than they were back at home. There are Haitians in Miami who are locked into closets and kitchens for days on end like they’re attached to their brooms and pans just because they “have no rights” here in this country.

There are Dominican immigrants, Chinese immigrants, Indian immigrants, and all sorts of people just trying to stay alive in these hard times, but we want to chastise them because they’re trying to make money just like we are. We want them to speak English, when some of us have a hard time with the English language ourselves. We want them to follow the laws of this country when their only “crime” is standing on the so-called hallowed ground you do with a different colored card than we do. We want them to follow our customs, but if we have the nerve to criticize others for the lack of diversity in different arenas. We want them to stop taking our jobs, but too many well-to-do families pick them up from the corner and make them do menial jobs for slave wages. We want them to get the hell out of this country, but when these same well-to-do families have no need for them, they suddenly find la migra busting through their doors and they never find a means of naturalization.

And this is a bigger issue than I can tackle on my own here (though I could keep going, honest), but I think back to my own parents, both immigrants from their respective countries, and how they worked their way to where they’re at now. And more recently, I think of my older brother on my father’s side, who was considered for all intents and purposes a Haitian immigrant. He fought for 10 years to obtain citizenship, which we take for granted, but for him is the difference between a certain and an uncertain future, for the difference between being deported and just getting a ticket or two paid off if anything ever happened to him. When he became a citizen, he was practically in tears, because it was a culmination of all the struggles he’d gone through in this country.

Yet, even people related to him support anti-immigration policies. Thank goodness those opinions can’t be transfused in my blood …

jose, who doesn’t hate people, but has an aversion to half-baked ideas …

p.s. – There’s nothing illegal about any human. Let’s fix that.