Why blog?

It's therapeutic... specially for dorks like me who communicate better when they have the chance to process their thoughts, select their words, and write precisely what they want to say. As much as I'm a "talker", I stumble, stutter, and don't always say things right. English as a second language might have something to do with that (unfortunately, I don't think I could blog in Spanish... I lost my grammar in that language). I like to pour out my thoughts and leave it out there in the cosmos (or the world wide web) for other people to mull over...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Arizona Immigration Laws

Ok so I am at odds with a lot of people with my view of immigration. Behold, the points where I agree:
- Immigrants should apply for legal permission to be in the US and follow the law, and all the procedures, the way I did.
- Immigrants need to come to the U.S. and learn English - both written and read - if they intend to do more than visit as a tourist.
- Border Control needs to tighten their patrol of the Mexico-US Border and keep US Citizens safe from drug cartels, smugglers, and etc.
- Criminals who are immigrants don't need to be here.
- Immigrants SHOULD not be given any kind of social assistance beyond a public school education and school lunches until they have been here legally for at least 5 years and have been contributing tax payers and spenders in our economy.

That said, here is where most people would disagree with me:
- EMERGENCY Medical Care and Public Education should be universally available to anyone who needs it w/o discrimination as to whether they can pay or not, or are here legally or not.
- US Immigration laws need to allow for more immigrants in the US to obtain legal status if they are gainfully employed and paying taxes, and are w/o criminal records.
- Illegal immigrants are NOT wasting all our resources because they are not eligible for public assistance until they've been here legally for five years. Somehow everyone has the misconception that it's illegals who are hogging up all the foodstamps and medicaid. Well, I have to say that it's not this social group. It's mostly all the US Citizens that ARE fully legal and eligible to work and opt not to that are draining these resources.
- Someone's legal status should have no bearing on their ability to report a crime or call the police!
- Multi-cultural education in the US is CRUCIAL to ending discrimination. If you don't allow any "ethnic" history/cultural other than "white American history" then your education system is not much different from that of the Nazis. And that would make the whole garbage of "ethnic history portrays white people to be the bad guys" a self-fulfilling prophecy, don't you think?

Here's the thing. Behind every immigrant - even every illegal immigrant - there is a STORY. Because there is a person - a soul that God loves, that God created, and that Jesus died for. We can't sit here with the mentality of "oh well, too bad for you if it sucks in your own country... deal with it". Because THAT mentality would be un-American.

So, my Republican anti-immigration friends, please enlighten me because I'm about to swear in as a US Citizen in two days and this may be crucial to my decision; correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't the Declaration of Independence say:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

I never read in the text that this statement applies to any particular group in particular, although we imply it applies to US Citizens. But I would argue that this statement was written as the US declared their separation from Britain, during a time when ALL that founded this nation and obtained it's independence were technically immigrants, citizens of ANOTHER COUNTRY, until they chose to pledge their allegiance to the new nation that was founded. So therefore I can safely assume that this statement wasn't made exclusively for the white folks around the table but for anyone who comes to the US, to support this country, in exchange for the rights to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness that "self-evidently" should be available to EVERYONE.

Are we now saying that if you are hispanic we don't really care if you came to pursue these unalienable rights? Because if you are Mexican, it doesn't really matter if the right to life, happiness, or liberty are unavailable in your country - sucks to be you? Or here's a thought: Maybe not ALL men were created equal. Just White men. And in the 1960s, we finally realized that Black men too - although it took 100 years between the abolition of slavery and the civil rights movement for the US to figure that one out...

Now I say all this, and it probably offends white americans... and rightly so! But how in the world do you think I feel when Arizona passes those laws, when I hear comments like, "That's right! I'm sick of all these Mexicans here! Send them home!" or the one that grinds me the most, "Just because you are born in the States doesn't mean you should be a US Citizen! Send those welfare babies home!" Hello! I'm not even Mexican (I'm Venezuelan), but most white bigots wouldn't care or notice. Because what they are saying with all these statements are that MY kids, born to an immigrant in the US, shouldn't get medicaid or foodstamps if we fall under hard times, because after all - they are not really citizens! And that's not the attitude I want to have directed at me when I graduated from a US Public School with a 3.85 GPA (higher than most US-born Americans), did 175 hours of community service JUST PRIOR TO GRADUATION, served my city, fundraised for various American organizations, paid all my taxes since I was 18, and yes - I've had to depend on public assistance to get our family through from time to time.

(And may I interject here that Paul and I were NOT eligible for more than $30 a month in foodstamps and medicaid for the kids BECAUSE I wasn't here legally long enough. )

And yet you want to discriminate against ME - because I would like to have Hispanic Heritage Month at the schools where I pay taxes and my kids attend - so they can learn about Gloria Estefan, and Simon Bolivar, and many more hispanic people with incredible achievements in history that - hey, guess what? - they weren't white! Maybe not even US Citizens *gasp*. And you would discriminate against ME and tell me that my kids aren't really American, and that I need to "go back home", because I'm hogging your resources?

Oh wait... maybe you weren't talking about me specifically. Because fortunately I'm half german and I kinda look a little whiter than most Salvadorians or Guatemalans... right?

And then, maybe you look at a short little brown skinned dude, standing outside of Home Depot, hoping to get hired to do SOMETHING, and you are disgusted, thinking, "What the hell is he doing here? He needs to go look for work in his own country!" But you don't see all the whites/blacks US citizens on SSI/Foodstamps standing there with him either... And you don't know that maybe he's only 16, and he crossed the border illegally on foot, but he did so because his indian tribe is on the verge of extermination, and his sisters were raped, and his mother is still missing, and he has the scars where the bullets of an AK-47 nicked him as they shot at the car he was riding in and killed his uncle.... And so this "wetback" ran for his life, doing whatever he can to survive, unable to finish high school, in a country where he doesn't speak the language, where he's still afraid of the people who threatened him in South America.... He's not asking for a hand-out, he's asking for an opportunity to break a sweat and EARN his next meal...

And I can name you... 50 people with the "sob story" mentioned above, so it's the rule and not the exception - these are just clients of the firm I work for, here in Alaska... not counting the rest of the US, and the ones being scammed, and the ones in detention held for a $10,000 bail just for not having papers when a pedophile's bail in the same state is set for $7,000....

But if you DID know, would you care? Would it matter? Would it transform your anti-immigration ideals just enough to say, "yeah, we need reform, but we need to remember that these are PEOPLE. There are good people, and bad people, and we need to screen the ones that are here for harm, but not penalize those that mean us no harm?" Would you think twice before you "YAHOO!" at the next bigot law that Arizona passes? Or at least have a little bit more tact about it so that you don't offend those who came to this country in pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness (like me!)?

Oh, and here is where I get controversial: What does the Bible say? (And if you really know me, you should see this coming!)

Leviticus 19:9-10 (The Message)

9-10 "When you harvest your land, don't harvest right up to the edges of your field or gather the gleanings from the harvest. Don't strip your vineyard bare or go back and pick up the fallen grapes. Leave them for the poor and the foreigner. I am God, your God.

Leviticus 19:32-34 (The Message)

32 "Show respect to the aged; honor the presence of an elder; fear your God. I am God.

33-34 "When a foreigner lives with you in your land, don't take advantage of him. Treat the foreigner the same as a native. Love him like one of your own. Remember that you were once foreigners in Egypt. I am God, your God.

Leviticus 25:35-36 (The Message)

35-38 "If one of your brothers becomes indigent and cannot support himself, help him, the same as you would a foreigner or a guest so that he can continue to live in your neighborhood. Don't gouge him with interest charges; out of reverence for your God help your brother to continue to live with you in the neighborhood. Don't take advantage of his plight by running up big interest charges on his loans, and don't give him food for profit. I am your God who brought you out of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.

Wow. God instructed His chosen people, the Israelites, to treat the foreigners like their own. To love them, to help them... And America claims to be "One Nation Under God", right? So are you bound to the Word of God everywhere EXCEPT here? Go ahead and look for these scripture references in whatever version of the Bible you like and you will see that it's pretty clear! God set those standards for the nation of Israel to BLESS THEM, and He would bless US too if we followed it. I know Obama said that the Bible has no place in our nation, but oh - how it does! If we operated under the laws of mercy and compassion without discrimination, oh what a Nation this would be!

In fact, if we are so concerned about our resources, and making sure "our own are taken care of first", why not consider these solutions that God gave the Israelites for a prosperous nation?

Leviticus 25:7-9 (The Message)

Leviticus 25

"The Land Will Observe a Sabbath to God"
1-7 God spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai: "Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them, When you enter the land which I am going to give you, the land will observe a Sabbath to God. Sow your fields, prune your vineyards, and take in your harvests for six years. But the seventh year the land will take a Sabbath of complete and total rest, a Sabbath to God; you will not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Don't reap what grows of itself; don't harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land gets a year of complete and total rest. But you can eat from what the land volunteers during the Sabbath year—you and your men and women servants, your hired hands, and the foreigners who live in the country, and, of course, also your livestock and the wild animals in the land can eat from it. Whatever the land volunteers of itself can be eaten.
"The Fiftieth Year Shall Be a Jubilee for You"
8-12 "Count off seven Sabbaths of years—seven times seven years: Seven Sabbaths of years adds up to forty-nine years. Then sound loud blasts on the ram's horn on the tenth day of the seventh month, the Day of Atonement. Sound the ram's horn all over the land. Sanctify the fiftieth year; make it a holy year. Proclaim freedom all over the land to everyone who lives in it—a Jubilee for you: Each person will go back to his family's property and reunite with his extended family. The fiftieth year is your Jubilee year: Don't sow; don't reap what volunteers itself in the fields; don't harvest the untended vines because it's the Jubilee and a holy year for you. You're permitted to eat from whatever volunteers itself in the fields.

Yeah not popular. Give the land a rest? Not kill myself for a profit for ONE year? Forgive all debts and restore everything that was foreclosed on or repossessed? Give the working class a break?! Not charge interest?!? The stock market would crash! The country would go into a depression!!

And yet I know without a shadow of a doubt that it would allow the American Empire to grow and prosper. The foreclosure and bankruptcy losses would almost disappear. And the reason why I know this is because history (and the Bible) has proven that Israel DOMINATED THE WORLD right up until the point that the kings of the nations refused to. And then they were annihilated by the Babylonians and ... well the rest was history.

But Jewish history. Not White American History. I don't expect it to be taught in Arizona schools when it comes to World History anymore. In fact, I would venture to say that they will begin to teach that the "Holocaust" never happened; after all, that makes white people appear in such a negative light!

And a tidbit of info, while the Nazis in Europe were putting Jews in concentration camps, the US were putting Japanese people in concentration camps in the Midwest - were many died from illness and poor care (in fact, Pat Morita's character in the first "Karate Kid" shares how while he was in the war his wife and child died in birth because she was in one of these camps). How does that make white people look?

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