Tuesday, June 16, 2009

nation of immigrants

this morning on the today show there was a piece about families being separated by our nations immigration policies. featured in the piece were 'mixed status' families, immigrant families were some members are undocumented aliens and others are citizens.

in one featured family, the husband has been in the country legally for 22 years. his wife, whom he had left behind in mexico, grew tired of waiting to enter the country legally and crossed over to be with her husband here in the states. after arriving, they had two more children together. in 2005, they went to immigration and naturalization seeking legal status for her to remain in the country with her family. she was arrested, deported and barred from entering the country for life. meanwhile, the rest of her family, who are legal, remains here.

with another family, the couple entered the country legally with visas, established a business, bought a home, but overstayed their visa. they were arrested in a midnight raid and deported to mexico, while their three children, who were born here, were allowed to stay.

immigration has been a hot button issue for some in this country, though, to be honest, i feel that much of the anger directed toward the issue is misplaced at best. we are, after all, a nation comprised totally of immigrants. the only persons in this country who are not immigrants have been so completely marginalized as to be invisible. in light of that simple fact, our mistreatment of immigrants who lack the proper papers is particularly egregious. i'm not aware that any of my ancestors arrived here with proper permissions from the native population.

in all respects, our country is what it is today because of the blood, sweat and tears of its immigrant population. rather than vilify those who enter our country seeking work, and eager to do whatever work they can find [often to the profit and advantage of our countrymen], we should embrace those whose hard labour can only make our country stronger.

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