On the Issue of Social Problems – Immigration       

Turn your radio on this week to just about any radio station and you will hear someone screaming about Mexicans. That’s right, Mexicans. The word has become a synonym for all other illegal foreigners in this country. You will hear irresponsible talk show hosts call them “locusts that need to be taken care of” or “puss in our midst,” and the reference to their children as “anchor babies.” The word “patriot” always follows in justification of their remarks.

     I called one these programs today, only to be told that they have no problem with people like me, who have been here legally for almost two decades. The fault in their argument, however, is that for the first seven and a half years, before I became legal, I was just like all other illegal aliens you will meet anywhere in the country. According to the national chant, both my older children should be referred to as “anchor babies”.

     There lies the beginning of a huge problem: the criminalization of an entire group of people, since we have decided to make the issue so impersonal by making it about borders and laws. Yes, there are laws in this country that forbids people to come here on a visa and stay, like I did, or to just cross the border in search of a better life like, the Mexicans do. However, after allowing millions of people to settle and form families here, it is no longer reasonable to call for the government to simply round all of them up and send them back to wherever they came from. It is rarely that simple when it involves fathers, mothers, children and communities. It is never a good idea to join in the chant without thinking about the ramifications and the social problems it seeds for many years to come.

     We support our arguments by stating the law over and over again, and we feel justified. But what has become of the laws which stated that black people could not sit in the front seats on buses, or that they should not be allowed to vote or join the military? Do we as a nation feel that we should revisit this notion once again? Or we are finally in accord that humans are humans, no matter the color of their skins? The Germans passed many laws leading to the Second World War, one by one transforming a law-abiding community into criminals to be despised and blamed for all the economic problems of early 1930s Germany. Do we as a nation believe they were justified?

     One of the most telling questions humans pose has to do with one’s placement in times of tragedy. Where were you when President Kennedy was assassinated? Where were you at 9 a.m. on September 11th? That’s how we define who we are, by where we stand when a visible line defines good and evil. When we talk about Hitler, we all say that if given the chance, we would kill him to prevent the demise of so many Jewish souls; but that is easily said now that we have all the facts. We know how differently we would treat the Japanese community during the Second World War, and we are all certain that as German natives, we would have had the fortitude to do the right thing and at least save the children.

     I have felt angry and embarrassed ever since I learned about the Holocaust and Slavery. It shaped me into a person who does not have much confidence in humans as a group, for in my eyes evolution always comes with the suffering of a few courageous and charismatic souls. They alone fight our battles and teach their disciples the importance of empathy and humanity. The problem always comes a few years down the road when the leaders die, and the disciples forget that it is their responsibility to pass on the knowledge to a new generation. When we forget our past, we begin once again chanting about a new group of people. 

     So we have come full circle. You accuse us of being unpatriotic, and you think in return we are calling you a racist. For all of you misguided people out there who feel absolutely white, I will explain to you in simple terms why the rest of us are fighting you so hard. We as a human race chanted loudly about Jews, right before marching them into gas chambers and ovens and in fact, there are still some of us trying to convince the rest of the world that it never happened. We dragged black people across the ocean in chains, and after years of servitude we paid them back by dragging them from their homes- to the despair of their children- and we hanged them off trees because we knew that we could. We could not send the blacks back to Africa-or keep them from claiming their rights, because one black man stood up and said: “I have a dream…” 

      We, the human race, have damaged the black community to such an extent that we were able to convince them that they do not belong here at all, that in fact they are not Americans; they are African- Americans. Even though the majority of blacks in this country have never been to Africa, nor can they afford the air fare to visit. We knew then that we could get away with it, because the rest of us would say nothing. We all had mortgages and social ladders to climb, just like today. We are busy chanting about Mexicans and Muslims, while all gay man and woman in this country have their noses pressed against their television sets, for they know they are next. Sometimes I feel funny for having to pay a psychologist to help me to get rid of, among other things, the unjustified anger and shame I feel about our lock of humanity when considering the Holocaust and Slavery. I am sure the majority of teenagers around the world, upon learning our human history, ask the same question: how could we ever? Sometimes I almost feel better until you people start chanting again.

     So there it is. We today chant about Mexicans just like the extreme Muslims chant about America, and of course China, North Korea, Iran and other countries join in with their own chant. It might surprise you to know that we think you are absolutely right about the social and economical impact of an open border, and that we know that this problem has to be addressed with no further delays. What make us different from you is that we do not apologize for liking the people while acknowledging the problem. We don’t call them names and we respect their children, for history has shown us how silly is the notion that they are any different from the rest of us. Shame on all of you “patriots” who think otherwise, for we are still known worldwide as “the land of the free.” You should know that we agree with you on the need to close our borders; it is your “chant” we dislike. It is your hateful chant we are afraid of.

 

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