Archive for April 11th, 2006

Like cheap vegetables? So do I!

Apr 11, 2006 in Current Events

Listen up America: Yesterday, millions of Mexican and other Latino immigrants stopped building your houses, tending your gardens, picking your vegetables and washing your dishes to take to the streets in large numbers and tell you that they’re tired of being treated like criminals.

America is a nation of immigrants, and unless you’re 100% Native American, chances are your ancestors came here on a boat for the very same reasons that Latinos and other illegals come here. And even though they may have come legally, your ancestors likely faced the very same discrimination and anti-immigrant sentiment that the Mexicans do today.

Like it or not, we live in a world where brown people of many different races work for comparatively low wages, so that you can maintain your standard of living. Guess who built that house you just bought in that nice suburban subdivision? That nice shiny office building with the attractive landscaping? Who picked your fruits and vegetables? Who slaughtered and processed your store-bought chicken or steak? Who keeps these and many other things cheap?

Obviously, immigration reform is a complex issue with no easy answers. But stricter penalties against illegal immigration would do little to address the 10-12 million illegal immigrants that are already here. They’re not going anywhere — the cost of deporting 10+ million immigrants would bankrupt the economy. Not to mention that many businesses, especially in the agricultural sector, would go bankrupt if not for a steady influx of immigrant labor. Better to find some way to integrate them into society, and address the issue of border crossings seperately.

There’s a lot of racism and xenophobia regarding this issue, much of it, not surprisingly, from the Republican Party and its supporters. (Latinos are yet another group they’ve managed to alienate.) Polls show that immigration has become a major concern among Americans. With all the major issues demanding attention, doesn’t this sudden emphasis on illegal immigration seem like a smokescreen to you?

This is not an issue that is going to be resolved by those with authoritarian and xenophobic motives. This issue requires forward thinking, and I don’t think the politicians in power have the ability to resolve this issue fairly. Good thing there’s an election coming up.