Sunday, January 17, 2010

La Herida Abierta or The Gaping Wound

I can no longer be silent. I’m angry. In fact I am so angry it took me awhile to sit down and write this. I wanted to write a factual blog on immigration not to offend anyone and leave my emotions out of it but I can’t. Immigration issues were brought to my attention several years ago and my passion regarding the issue has begun to increase.

First of all, let’s look at the crusade to “shore up” our borders. From what? From dark skin? From immigration workers who will gladly take the work that no one else wants? From people who inhabited this continent long before anyone with fair skin and blue eyes ever thought about being here? Not sure what we are trying to “shore up” our borders from. Let’s go back even a little further.

NAFTA, our country’s wonderful Fair Trade Agreement has screwed our Mexican neighbors. I said it. It screwed them. Once the corn industry supported our friends south of the border but no more. With this agreement came the ability for corn to be bought from the US for less than Hispanics can grow and sell it for in their own country leaving the Mexican people with no real way to make a prosperous living. Their journey is full of danger and fear. Hundreds of immigrants are shot in fields and buried without a word and no one hears about them again.

Drugs? Yes drugs are an issue in Mexico just like they are in any country. In a bad economy the problem only increases. The US’s drug problem does not solely come from Mexico. Plenty of blonde, blue eyed people manufacture meth in their kitchens with their children sitting at the dining room table. This evil entity knows no boundaries or borders.

A few months ago I was told a story about an immigrant who was working a hard job 6 days a week for minimum wage. Her work load continued to increase as more and more labor was piled on to her day. When she fairly asked for a raise, he boss told her that he would not give her a raise. He told her that since she was Mexican this was a good job for her and she should just be glad to have it. When I heard this story I felt as if I had just been punched. Being here most likely illegally, she had no recourse of action for the prejudice that was just handed to her. Would this boss have said no to a white worker? And if the boss couldn’t afford the raise, then just say so. But to tell her it was because she is Mexican is criminal.

Some say if they want to be here, they should be legal. How naïve. My son had a girl dropped into his high school that knew no English. They handed her a schedule and sent her on her terrified little way. A few hours into the day, someone knew my son was advanced in his Spanish classes and brought her to him to help her. Let me repeat that. A student brought her to my son, another student for help. No adult or administrative professional offered to help her in any way.
Okay….for the sake of argument, let’s enforce them being legal. Do you know what it costs for an immigrant to become legal? How about you look into that and ask yourself if you could afford it. Now, let’s lay a citizenship test in front of you. Can you pass it? Could you pass it in a language that was second to you? Okay. Let’s force them to become citizens. But MAKE IT FAIR.

Bottom line, Hispanic immigrants (the one’s who make it) are in this country to make a living at jobs that most whites do not want and they are hired by people who can pay them less than they can pay whites. And they are here because our governments fair trade law have drove them out of their own country because they can’t make a living there any longer. So when you start talking about keeping them south of the border, imagine someone coming in to your home, taking away your ability to make a living, forcing you to separate from your family and loved ones. In your new location, no one will help you with your new language, the only job you get is long hours with hard labor and no hope of advancement. But you are glad to do it because you have no other options and you know this will be your life for the rest of your days. Glass ceiling? How about low ceiling. How about a boot on your forehead forever. No retirement. No health care. No luxuries. This is it. Forever and always. Last I saw, the 13th Amendment was abolished. Apparently not.

If what I have said here makes you angry, good. If you are angry because you disagree with me, what is your heritage? Did your family stop at a little place called Ellis Island? If so than you were given a fair chance in the greatest country in the world. Our southern neighbors deserve the same. And if you’re angry because you didn’t realize things were so bad for your employee, friend, or neighbor than do what you can to get their voices heard. It is 2010 in the greatest, wealthiest country on the planet. Doesn’t this all seem a little ridiculous? End the bigotry. End the unfairness. Let them work and earn a living and pay taxes and contribute the economy where they can work, earn a living, pay taxes and contribute. It’s time to stop the slavery.

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