Introduction: I write to challenge. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. I do expect people to pause and think about what they hold dear in their own lives. I notice that people who have never been challenged; whether economically, or by losing their health, losing a loved one… take an awful lot for granted.
I’ve suggested to both of my children that when the time is right, I’d rather they spent a year overseas in a third-world country helping others than beginning college in some American fishbowl. Growing up among nomadic people who had few material possessions has taught me much about the importance of family, hospitality, helping the less-fortunate regardless of how much or little I have, and of being grateful.
So here’s what’s on my mind today:
I’ve heard arguments of all kinds on the immigration debate. I understand the economic arguments (on both sides). As far as I’m concerned, they cancel each other out. Then there are the racial arguments. Oh, you probably won’t hear someone frame it that way, but so far, the people I’ve heard argue against illegal immigration quickly slide into arguments against immigration on a broader scale, and suddenly the discussion becomes one about ‘Mexicans’, ‘Guatemalans’, or Spanish-speakers in general from ‘south of the border’.
Let’s call a spade a spade. I hear an awful lot of White Anglo-Saxon rednecks who would otherwise call themselves ‘Christians’ use racial slurs against Latinos, make fun of their accents, stereotype their food, living conditions, personal hygiene habits, etc.
This is an issue about which I used to not feel strongly, but because of the abhorrent things I continue to hear, am quickly developing an aversion to most of the ‘anti-immigration’ arguments I hear from a visceral level.
Granted, I used the term ‘anti-immigration’ instead of ‘anti-illegal-immigration’.
One problem I have with the entire argument is that illegal immigration can be largely blamed on a ridiculous system that actually encourages it. Do I think people should be rewarded for breaking the law? Of course not. Do I think American jobs need to be protected? Building a higher wall is not going to protect American jobs any more than raising tariffs on certain industries, and anyone who watched GM, Ford & Chevy during the ’80’s knows how they squandered that.
Americans need to be less dependent on ‘jobs’ and need to relearn how to be self-reliant. 100 years ago, this nation was made up of people who appreciated the smallest blessings, uttered phrases like ‘waste not, want not’, and ‘a penny saved is a penny earned’.
Today, we utter words like ‘entitlement’, and phrases like, ‘I’ll sue’. Asked the best ways to develop wealth, average Americans answer with one of the following means: Winning the lottery, inheriting a large sum from a relative, or winning a lawsuit.
Here’s one of my favorite arguments: "These people should have to go through the legal process to become citizens." This from people who had the luxury of being born American citizens, who did nothing more than exit their mothers’ wombs on American soil. Do you have any idea what ludicrous loopholes we require of people to become citizens? Forget our neighbors south of the border for a moment – consider loyal translaters in Iraq who risk their lives and the lives of their families daily, and once they’re targeted by Al Qaida in Iraq or another terrorist group have to flee to Jordan or Syria rather than being able to rely on the US State Department to protect them. 50 visas per year. That’s what we offer. And we expect Iraqis to jump at the chance to help us? Right.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for someone who risks his very life to cross a border for the chance to make his family’s life marginally better, and at the same time actually pays the IRS taxes on the illegal money he earns working 12 hour days 7 days a week while sharing meager housing with a dozen other illegals who spend their days harvesting crops at wages that actually allow you to buy fresh produce at a price you can afford.
Here’s another argument I love: "The thing I can’t stand is that they don’t learn the language." This is usually uttered by the very same people who can’t put together a sentence in English to save their lives. I work in an environment that is as homogeneous as it gets – not one minority in the place. I hear these arguments daily. I also don’t have to dig very deep to find examples of English grammar gone wrong. This hypocritical argument is just one of many that raise my ire.
I’m probably the world’s worst speller (that’s why I use ‘spell check’. In this posting alone, I found three spelling errors. So I’m not trying to put my fellow workers down – only pointing out the hypocrisy of being offended because someone is having difficulty learning English as a second language, when they have not even come close to mastering it as a first language!
I’m perfectly willing to hear people offer arguments who disagree – please just do yourself the favor of checking the facts and basing your arguments on solid ground, and not racial stereotypes. You will get farther with me if you’re trying to convince me of the validity of your point of view.
A brother just returned from a missions trip to Nicaragua. His impression was summed up in one sentence: “We are so rich compared to those people!”, he realized. “They have so little, but compared to us, they are so committed to helping their neighbors who are even more poor than they!”
What are you committed to? Keeping up with the Joneses? Materialism? What’s your god? When did our fellow man become less important than our individual pursuit of wealth?