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Arizona, Immigration laws and my Dad

This isn't really an issue I pipe up about, normally, but I was reading some things online and found myself really upset. I should know to ignore "comments" sections and the rampant hatred and ugliness that can usually be found there. I didn't ignore them. I read them and I cried. So I need to get some e thoughts down somewhere before they evaporate in my head, replaced with Team Umizoomi or something equally useless.

The new immigration laws in Arizona disgust me.

This law and it's insane method of enforcement is repulsive. I'm astounded that we managed to elect a (half) black president but it doesn't surprise me that people are going crazy to protest seemingly every thing his administration tried to accomplish. I truly believe that racism is at the heart of it. And now, if these crazies can't get their way on a Federal level, they're content to take it to the level of the states and try to work their cruelty that way. I think that the lawmakers in Arizona who signed this ridiculous thing are blatantly racist and clueless. I think this law is a manifestation of the latent racism in this country that is simmering just below the surface. Not just in Arizona, but everywhere.

I hear the arguments all the time in regards to illegal immigrants-- they take American jobs, feed off the system of government handouts, etc etc.

I grew up in a city where there is a constant stream of immigrants into the country- most illegally. Everyone knows that it's wrong to generalize about a whole group of people because there are always going to be exceptions. That works in the good and bad. But my experiences with illegal immigrants have always showed them to be hardworking people who will do anything to survive.

And when I say anything, I mean, clean hotels, work in kitchens, construction and day labor for little pay-- the dirtiest, nastiest jobs around. They do it with no real security, for very little pay and they continue to show up. They don't take jobs away from "real Americans" because they're doing the jobs Americans don't want to do, that they think they are above.

Whenever the issue of immigration comes up, I think about my dad. He was working on ships as a teenager, after he got out of the Spanish Navy. I'm a little sketchy on the details but somehow he came to be living in a basement in a building on the end of the street where my mom grew up. He got a job in construction as a laborer. He worked hard. Every single day. He joined the union. He met my mom, fell in love, got married and had me. And somewhere along the way, he became an American citizen. He never took from the government or asked for a handout. He learned to speak English. He pays into the system.

As an American, my dad votes in every single election. He is a staunch Democrat. I consider my dad to be a model citizen and he started as an illegal. Who knows what kind of people can be counted among those masses? I think it's un-American to lump a group of people into a category and look no further into who they are other than to ship them back past an imaginary line in the sand.

And this new law in Arizona allows for police officers to pull people over on the suspicion that they may be illegal based on their skin color, clothes and shoes. Seriously? How is this legal??? It's repugnant. Whatever happened to America as the land of opportunity and world-wide welcome?

Maybe I'm so upset because I grew up in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty but this is just wrong. I'm reminded of that poem I had to memorize in the 5th grade and I wonder what happened to those ideals.



The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she

With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
glass_lion
Apr. 26th, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
I haven't decided exactly what I feel about immigration laws (although this one seems equivalent to racial profiling). But I wanted you to know that i read this and i care.
dallyonlj
Apr. 27th, 2010 07:13 pm (UTC)
I hear you on this. One of my in laws is an illegal alien. She was brought her by her parents at age 1 or 2. Now she is a married woman, a mother, going to college, and working. She's been here all of her life and has been nothing but a good "citizen." She's married to a natural-born American. It's amazing to me that she could be deported to a place she doesn't even know, quite possibly lose her child (who is also a citizen and could stay with Dad in the U.S.), all because of something her parents did when she was a baby.

I hope she never goes to Arizona because the color of her skin may cause her to be pulled over.

It's racist.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )