I have never understood the way we treat immigrants in this country – as if they are some vile yet exploitable force, used as cardboard boogiecritters to rile and divert the populace while they are doing jobs that many already on this soil would not consider doing. However, this ham-fisted, more than faintly hysterical, approach is regrettably as American as a Papa John’s pizza pie.
One of the whisks used to drum up anti-immigrant sentiment is the idea of scarcity – that there is not “enough” (jobs, money, &c), that something is being taken away by the presence of these people who flee to our shores for a better life. It is an untruth. America is a huge nation with enormous resources, albeit resources that are increasingly gathered into fewer and meaner hands (and that, my friends, is a burr under my saddle to be addressed another day).
From personal experience, observation and reading, I believe that immigrants are decent, hardworking humans who do their jobs, pay their taxes, raise their families and seek to become part of the fabric of America. They come from many places and in many colours, but there is something about the notion of America – although we are moving far, far away from that now – that drew them here and kept them struggling and supporting that dream, even in the face of anger, obstacles and poor treatment. The spectre of a vast criminal element pouring into the country is a popular image with which to inflame the citizenry, but frankly, there are many more criminals walking the halls of power than there are trolling our streets, and many – if not most – are not immigrants.
Speaking of criminals, I will state unequivocally that no human is “illegal,” and the act of entering a country without documentation is a simple civil infraction that should be accommodated rather than criminalised.
However, the same lurking evil in our nation’s leadership that has made life for our existing populations of colour already on this soil difficult and dangerous – and increasingly denigrates the poor of all colours – extends itself with an alarming vigour towards immigrants, dehumanising them and subjecting them to the cruel handling more to be expected from a police state than the Land of The Free and Home of the Brave.
Those who embrace this nasty racism and xenophobia would have you believe that this nation wasn’t built and made wealthy by the toil of those who came from all over the world, and in many cases were not fully able to participate in the fruits of that labour. This group would have you believe that those who cross our borders in search of a better life are somehow less than human and not deserving of basic humane consideration. They are incorrect at best and wicked at worst.
Regarding the crisis we are currently experiencing, despite the current regime’s efforts to paint them as an “infestation” we must not forget that the would-be immigrants pooling at our Southern gates are human beings fleeing already unimaginable cruelty and wickedness. Our better angels, basic humanity, demand that they be treated with greater fairness and compassion that has heretofore been shown.
And the next person who says I should not be so emotional about what is going on at our Southern Border will get bitten.