Saturday, March 25, 2006

Gut-Check Time on Immigration

After lurking at several liberal political blogs over the past few years, I quickly realized that the issue of immigration reform was one of those taboo subjects that rarely got any attention. Diaries on the subject were sure to either disappear into the ignored/unmentioned ether or ignite into a massive flame-war until both sides finally threw up their arms in disgust and walked away to other pressing topics.

When Booman Tribune opened up for business in March 2005, I jumped right into the fray and decided that I would try to focus my attention on a humane and just viewpoint on immigration reform. My first big diary, The Immigration Crisis, was so well-received, that I did a follow-up to it a month later when Jon Kyl and John Cornyn released S.1438, a hard-lined answer to the bipartisan bill offered by John McCain and Ted Kennedy.

Now, eight months later, the immigration storm clouds have finally gathered enough strength to draw the lines in the desert sand and force the American public decide where they stand, and more importantly why.

continued below the fold...

Through a well-organized and concerted effort by human rights groups that serve the Latino population in the United States, rallies and marches have been staged in cities all across America, demanding an end to the hate-mongering string of bills that have been working their way through the Republican-led Congress.

Will the liberal left join bigot-filled groups like the Minutemen and American Patrol in reacting negatively to these powerful demonstrations of democracy? Will you join your voices with the likes of these commenters at the Arizona Republic's Blogizona?:

Comment from: jeanne7272 - 03/24/06 @ 15:50
Not just no, BUT HELL NO! We have existing immigration laws in this country which have been totally ignored and now we have hundreds of thousands of ILLEGALS waving the MEXICAN flag and protesting on AMERICAN SOIL? This is just wrong, these people are law breakers and ICE should be there hauling their butts right back to Mexico and dropping them off at Vicente Fox's front door! AMERICANS, we can't let ILLEGALS dictate our border policies to us! They don't have the right to be here in the first place! I am afraid these protesters are going to start a HUGE mess in this country! TAKE YOUR MEXICAN FLAG AND FLY IT IN MEXICO WHERE IT BELONGS, NOT ON U.S. PROPERTY!
Comment from: Jaime3766 - 03/24/06 @ 18:29
And what about crime here in Arizona? Ever notice that most crimes we hear about here are committed by someone with a Hispanic last name? Don't tell me that crime levels wouldn't drop if illegals weren't sent back to Mexico.
You see, in a black-and-white world for people like Jaime3766, any person with a Hispanic last name is 1) automatically illegal and 2) a criminal. As someone who is neither of those two and also blessed with a Hispanic surname, you can see why I would take exception to her calls for expulsion and blatant xenophobia.

American exceptionalism is driving the adverse reactions to the images that have been played out in cities like Chicago, Philadelphia, Trenton, Washington, D.C., Knoxville, Milwaukee, Tucson, Phoenix, Denver, Atlanta, San Francisco, Kansas City (KS), Columbus, New York City, Houston, and Los Angeles.

To be perfectly honest, it reminds me of reading stories of slaves owners in the civil war era who were offended and appalled that the slaves would dare demand some semblance of dignity. "How dare they? Who do they think they are?"

The echo in my ears from one of the gritos at today's Tucson rally provides an answer:
¡No Somos Enemigos, Somos Tus Amigos!
We are not enemies, we are your friends.


I implore the left and moderate ends of the political spectrum in the United States to consider the humanity of these people who are merely asking for a chance to ensure the survival and prosperity of their families. The debate on immigration has been dominated by bigots like James Sensenbrenner, Russell Pearce and Chris Simcox. It is now time to let the targets of their ire have their say, and clue-in the American public on the reasons they have risked their lives and livelihood to come to the United States.

One of the signs at today's rally was very simple, and was held by the hands of young girl who was no more than ten years old: "I want to be a doctor."

Will you respond to her as an American exceptionalist and deny her a path to succeed or as a human being who recognizes that we all have have a right to follow our dreams?

It's gut-check time, my friends. There are no borders when it comes to love.

Crossposted from my humble blog

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1 comment:

janinsanfran said...

You are so right -- whenever I've posted on immigrant matters (or race) at the big liberal blogs, some pretty ugly stuff has surfaced. I remain inclined to hope that loosely liberal Democrats can be shamed into supporting immigrant rights, but it is going to take folks like me explaining over and over to them what they ought to be doing.

The religious communities, Catholic, mainline Protestant and, of necessity, Muslim, have been bulwarks of sanity and sometimes practical help in welcoming newcomers. We need to amplify their influence in this struggle.