Monday, March 27, 2006

Thoughts on immigration...

Despite my limited perspective on recent history, it seems to me that Conservatives have always been afraid of immigration, and Democrats (largely the recipient of the immigrant-born legal votes) have always embraced it. Nothing really new here. But never have I seen it so polarized. One could say that I would need to have experienced the civil rights movement to know what real tension was, but my retort is that we should have learned better by now. I grew up in an age that knew as little racial animosity as ever, and I feel like that could change soon; this really alarms me.

My parents are fascinated with genealogy and have traced our family back in each direction for many, many generations. And despite the fact that we have loose suspicions of having some Native American in my blood line, we have not found anything but honkies from Europe. So remind me again, who the hell is it who's afraid of immigration?

On better thoughts... I'd love to check this thing out: National Geographic Genographic Project. Have any of my readers considered participating? Oh why bother... *ahem* so Mom & Dad, have you thought of participating?


Anonymous said...

America is the great melting pot - immigrants melting together to become one. Even "native americans" were immigrants at one time. But the problem isn't about resistance to immigration - but rather the process and the result. There are probably hundreds of thousands of people who would like to immigrate to the U.S. , and many have been "waiting in line" for years, while others have "cut to the front". Once in America, many immigrants have failed to "melt" in the pot - failing to learn English, for one. By not merging into society, barriers are raised between those already in this county and the new arrivals. This isn't good for anyone.

This isn't about race or any particular nationality - we can see it with all nationalities that come to the U.S. and settle in large enough numbers in any area. Resentments are formed.

When I visited relatives in Maine, the state where I was born, I discovered that being "French Canadians" should not be mentioned - they were the "lower class" at that time. They came in mass to the U.S. in search of jobs in the Mills in Lewiston, and other cities in Maine. They stayed in their own communities, spoke French, went to their churches and schools. They were the lower class.
Now, the immigrants in Lewiston are Somalians, again in groups, and new problems arise.

So we have two problems - one is that immigration isn't a right, and those who have been following the "rules" to come to the U.S. should have the first chance at citizenship, and not persons who broke the law, no matter what the reason.
The second is, if you come here, then be an American - don't wave the flag of your native country and insist on speaking your native tongue exclusively, while demanding that lawbreakers, who are not U.S. citizens, have the right to be citizens -- I'm sorry but they don't.

Texas Hippie said...

Interesting post, though it seemed to challenge positions that I never endorsed. I want to make clear that what is bothering me is the polarization of every single issue in politics these days. If this issue is so important, why is it just now getting such large national exposure? Why is it only recent times that have seen the aggressiveness of border militias? Why are conservatives suddenly concerned about the burden on our health care system when Walmart has been dumping their underpaid workers on the taxpaying public by not providing adequate health care?

There are certainly many points of view worth discussing about immigration. But given the increasingly angry and divisive rhetoric of the right, I'm concerned that this particular issue is only a symptom of something intense and fundamental that's afflicting conservatives. And time and time again I have seen the conservatives in power completely botch even their biggest initiatives (underfunded No Child Left Behind, completely idiotic response to Katrina which revealed how well they'd respond to a domestic terror attack, and of course the Iraq quagmire). So even if it's a proper cause it will still be executed poorly because it will be executed partisanly by a particular side that treads negligence and incompetence.

Think about how many people supported Bush during the early stages of the Iraq war. Now think about how many people are again feeling like their concerns are being spoken to on this issue? But this is just another power play by Rove, the pied piper, and I feel that there are significantly better issues to focus on with our country's time and money.