Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Immigration Debate Descending Into Xenophobic Rants

I am getting pretty sick of listening to these Republican candidates for President  using tactics that descend to the lowest common denominator of their overwhelmingly native and caucasian base to win votes in the primaries and caucuses.  Very little is offered by these guys on how to fix our immigration policy that is both humane and workable.  What is offered is rhetoric that appeals to xenophobic and frightened voters who strongly believe that we are "being over-run by law-breaking illegal immigrants who care little for our values."  Fellow citizens, please remember the power of rhetoric and propaganda used by the National Socialist Workers' Party of Germany in the 1930's and how it led to the execution of millions of Jews and immigrants by people who were overwhemingly white and Christian.  We Americans went to war in 1941 to protect liberty and equality for all, regardless of one's origins. I'm not saying that we have millions of people who want to kill immigrants, but there have been many documented incidents of terrible acts of violence by vigilante-style gangs or individuals who target particularly Mexican immigrants. Words have consequences.  The Southern Poverty Law Center has documented Hate Groups that actively recruit new members on the basis of hate for Mexicans, Blacks, Gays, etc.  Many of these hate groups use appeals to white Christians just as did the Nazi Party of Germany when it was first organizing for political power.

Jim Baca, former Mayor of Albuquerque, reposted the commentary titled  "It's Mitt's Assertion That He Is Not Anti-Immigrant That Is Repulsive" from his old friend and classmate, Dennis Jett, in his Blog Only In New Mexico  .  It's interesting that no one called him out when Mitt asserted during the Florida debate that he was not anti-immigrant because his father was born in Mexico.  To clarify, his father was not an immigrant as he was born of American citizens living in Mexico. The roots of the "birther movement" that is still alive and well in America today among many conservative voters is based on xenophobia and racism of a Black President born of a Kenyan-born father.

Another product of the anti-immigrant movement is the denial of civil rights of an American citizen whose first language is not English, who, although born in America, has been denied the right to run for the City Council of San Luis, Arizona because of a law passed in the state of Arizona that requires all government officials have proficiency in reading and writing English.  She is currently appealing a legal decision to keep her off the ballot.  San Luis, Az is a border town of 25,000 people of whom 90% speak Spanish and are bi-lingual.  This is typical of all US-Mexican border towns.  The issue is bound to have an impact on the current Presidential political contest because all the Republican candidates demand that the USA have an Official language of English which is currently not the case in our nation of immigrants.  The ramifications for English as an official language of the USA are that government will not print anything in the non-official languages.  This means ballots, highway signs, safety instructions, legal documents....etc.

Our country is a country of immigrants. May I point out the irony of today's "Nativists" who want to bar the door to other immigrants:  The original native population was killed, moved off their lands, round up into reservations, and had their language and culture systematically destroyed by the immigrants who moved illegally into this country and dominated it through violence and moral certainty of their cultural and religious superiority.  Today, our immigration policy,  which is archaic and failing, is held hostage by politicians who dare not do anything that would cause them to be defeated for political office.  My Sandia Park neighbor, Francisco Figueroa, a successful CPA and the son of Mexican immigrants,  has suggested reforms to US Immigration Policy.  He likes to cite an old Mexican saying: "You should not build a million dollar fence to protect a hundred dollar cow."  His aproach is compassionate and pragmatic.  I think the current Republican candidates for President should drop their intemperate  language and  put forward a workable and humane proposal to deal with the millions of immigrants who live in America and contribute daily to it's prosperity but who are in the shadows of our society because of their undocumented status.  The reform of our immigration policy needs to be forward thinking and recognize that the future of a prosperous and long-standing nation is in it's attitude toward immigrant access.

1 comment:

  1. Well said. It's not the only thing though where this groups of racists aims for the bottom. I belong to the SPLC and their documentation of the meteroric rise of new hate groups is disheartening at the least. That so called mainstream political figures cater to this lowest common denominator is dispicable....