When Texas Governor Rick Perry stood up for Latino immigrants to the United States who are undocumented saying the children who are here through no fault of their own should have access to in-state Texas tuition at the State’s colleges and universities Perry was instantly savaged by the Party for taking that stand and has since walked himself back on the stand he took and has had for many years.
There is a massive reservoir of hate for the insuranceless, the gay or lesbian service man or woman, and most especially for the immigrant.
Most of all the degree of whiteness a person has is determinative of his or her worth to society.
When white Caucasians come to the United States on visas and overstay them in violation of the nation’s immigration law the sense of urgency in driving them out is not present among Republican conservatives.
And the culture and religion and language of choice for immigrants of all legal statuses are crucial to the manner in which they are treated in the United States. The hysteria in the Tea Party over Sharia Law and over Mosques in communities that do not have them in the United States is evidence enough of that.
Josiah Strong, long-time advocate for limiting and deporting the immigrant said that they are:
“an invasion of venomous reptiles . . . long-haired, wild-eyed, bad-smelling atheistic, reckless foreign wretches who never did an honest hour’s work in their lives . . crush such snakes.”
No, that is not the Tea Party rantings of Sharon Angle’s Senate TV ads last year or the Republican Party speech making from the platform. It is a quote from an 1885 bestselling book called Our Country and it describes most of our common ancestors. When people poured in to the United States from Southern and Eastern Europe, Slavs, Jews from Russia and the East, Greeks, Italians, Turks, even more Irish-Catholics the prevailing view was to keep them out as they would not make good citizens and they would destroy our democracy that the founders had so carefully constructed.
The nation’s demographic shift now fully underway from a white majority to a state of affairs where no racial group has that majority is extremely disquieting to white America. They don’t read the Census Bureau reports but they look around and see the Lilly white America of the 1950’s of their youth is largely gone.
And the economic stress we are all under in an age of terrorism is all the fuel needed and more for fear, hate, and racial prejudice to become resurgent. Xenophobia is the order of the day in the Tea Party and the Republican Party.
If you observe persons who are standing against the immigrant who is undocumented, their fear, suspicion and resentment of the documented is not far behind. Latino and Asian American citizens will tell you that they often are bearing the brunt of this bigotry as are their undocumented noncitizen brothers and sisters.
On a major network news and opinion show recently, the question was asked how much hate is enough for the Republican Party? That this statement is on national TV is a terrible indictment of Americans for a rising intolerance toward immigrants and immigration.
Yes, undocumented immigrants who have been here and are not engaging in any other criminal behavior: especially if they work hard and are law-abiding and raise families of children who consider themselves Americans first and want to fight for the United States and to serve it as productive citizens: they should have to in a judicial proceeding acknowledge that they broke U.S. Immigration Law knowingly and willingly. They should have that violation on their legal record though it need not carry with it any sanctions that would harm them. They ought to pay a significant fine for this civil violation.
The rule of law must be respected as a part of immigration reform. But it cannot be used as a smokescreen for racial bigotry.
Only after the immigrant who violated U.S. immigration law goes through this process should we issue a Green Card or be put on the customary road to full American citizenship.
There have never been more border patrol guards along the Rio Grande. Record numbers of the undocumented are being deported nationwide, and this under a sympathetic Democrat, Barack Obama.
If sixty percent of Latinos express loyalties that lean toward the Democratic Party or are solidly within that party it is because Democrats want immigration reform that respects these people for who they are, both citizens and emerging citizens alike.
By contrast, Republicans cannot wait to hate, fear, and expel the immigrant. Those suspicions and fears and hatreds extend to their fellow citizens of color as well. This Nativist surge is the direct result of the long history of racial politics in this nation. It is a sad history. It diminishes us as a people when we resort to racial bigotry.
A Fox News hostess, for she is not a real journalist, was wild with panic the other night at the thought that President Obama would grant amnesty to all “illegals” and that they would all vote for him in 2012. This not only betrays a lack of understanding of the immigration process and path to citizenship taken by documented legal immigrants, but it tells you a lot about the fear rising like bile in the throats of the conservative right when it comes to brown people.
It is just not legally possible for people who are presently undocumented to be citizens and voters as quickly as next year.
Republicans should consult the history of their very own party and see that they practiced what this sad excuse for a journalist is accusing Obama of doing. In the 1850’s with the first massive waves of German immigrants sweeping into our cities and prairies, the overwhelming majority of them were anti-slavery and they voted Republican just as soon as they legally and lawfully could obtain citizenship.
Democrats both North and South accused the Republican Party of seeking to have more of these foreign elements who were not natural-born U.S. citizens come in to the country and grant them citizenship improperly in order to prevail at the ballot box. Lincoln owes much of his election to the presidency in 1860 to a large German-American element recently elevated to lawful citizenship who voted for the Republican platform and their candidates on the basis of being anti-slavery and pro working man and economic development.
The fear, hate, racial bigotry, and economic distress that fuels so much of how we view others, is literally coloring our view of immigration itself. We forget that the immigrant both documented and undocumented is a human being. We discard that idea at our peril.