Something that always leaves me confused is the outright hatred people have for our nation's immigrants. Unless you're Native American, you have no room to complain. It's thanks to them that we are here in America today. Of course, it needs mentioning that the right-wing push back to immigration is due to a few reasons, the main of which is Hispanic immigrants. Republicans are afraid of Hispanic immigrants because of their tendency to vote Democrat (because people don't usually vote against their own interests.) And if the unbelievable backlash against the America the Beautiful Coke ad is any indication, the racist, hateful and ignorant condemnation for those seeking to come here, isn't going to ebb any time soon.
To understand this issue, and really politics in general, it helps to make it personal. Think of where you family came from. Every immigration story has real faces, real people. Anti-immigrant sentiment is nothing new. My husband's family is Polish and Dutch. My family hails from Ireland, Norway, Poland and Ukraine. When my great-great-great grandfather Patrick Murray took his first steps on American soil, he was probably greeted by one of these signs:
|But you'll steal St. Patrick's Day and turn it into an excuse to capitalize on stereotypes of the Irish.|
So in thinking about this topic, I came up with a few of my own suggestions for immigration reform. Some of them you can do on your own.
1. Make the process so much easier.
2. Don't bog people down with years of paperwork.
3. Don't bog people down with thousands and thousands of dollars worth of paperwork FEES.
4. Amnesty is critical. If people are already here and paying into the system, they're as American as anyone else.
5. Stop being a racist dick. Let's get real - GOP opposition to immigration reform comes from the skin color of many people wanting to come here.
6. End the belief that immigrants are 'welfare queens' who are mooching off the system.
7."Tough border security" is code for America puffing up its chest. It doesn't work. It obviously doesn't keep people from crossing the border. And building a wall? Huh. Let's remember how well that worked out the last time a country built a wall.
8. The children of immigrants, all 11 million, need to have fair access to education.
9. Stop getting your undies in a wad over whether or not people can speak English the second they get here. They'll learn. How many other languages do you speak? None? Okay. Than hush.
10. This is one of the most important. STOP CALLING PEOPLE ILLEGAL. No one is illegal. It's a cruel and inhumane term. I hate it.
The Center for American Progress has an extremely informative fact and statistics sheet on America's current immigration laws and numbers that you can access here. Contact your senators and congressperson and urge them to keep fighting for fair, humane immigration reform. Don't let John Boehner win on this issue.
So, next time you want to go tell your new neighbors from a different country how much you wish they'd go back, remember, they aren't stealing your jobs or your tax dollars. The people doing that are multimillion dollar corporations. Where's the legislative reform for THAT?