Yesterday was the Great American Boycott or whatever they were calling it. A call to all immigrants, though most of the focus was on Latino immigrants and illegal ones at that, to boycott work, school, and shopping to show the economic clout they possess. Well, good for them. I can’t say that the whole thing didn’t bother me, because it did on some level. But on another level, I didn’t really care. Sure, sure, have your little boycott; don’t buy anything to show the country what an impact you have. Of course, you probably bought twice as much yesterday, so I guess it all kind of evened out. The only way the boycott really affected me, personally, was that we didn’t get our bagels delivered to work. And that sent me over the edge. I went out and joined the Minute Men yesterday…just kidding.
I have opined on my solutions to the issue recently, so I won’t go too much in depth about it. I will say that I support immigration 100%. If you’ve ever seen me in person it is painfully obvious that I am not an American Indian, or any type of Indian for that matter. My ancestors came here a long time ago. On a boat, I would imagine. America is a country of immigrants, like it or not. Sure most of us were born here, but our family’s came here back in the day seeking freedom from oppression or simply better opportunities to succeed and care for their families. Those are still the reasons that most, not all, people come here. Do you know what it says at the base of the Statue of Liberty?
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free; send these, the homeless tempest-tossed, to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door.
This is a nation made up of those who have left their homeland and seek a place for a better life where they can be free.
All that said, that doesn’t give anyone the right to waltz in at their leisure and demand free stuff. That’s what does bother me about yesterday’s events. It’s outside the bounds of my mind how someone can come to another country illegally and expect, not only to stay, but also to receive all the same rights and benefits as a citizen of that country. This makes no sense. It’s not a matter of how much you think you are contributing to the economy. That’s not the point. You didn’t follow the rules for coming here. You can’t not follow the rules and expect the rights and benefits of those that do.
I have worked with several immigrants at my job, all legal. Some have been from Latin countries and some from Vietnam. Some of them endured oppression in their home countries and fled. One guy I worked with had to hide from the Nicaraguan military who were coming to force him into compulsory service when he was 14. Another guy fled Vietnam on a tiny fishing boat during the night when he was 10. He’s now working on sponsoring his wife, who is in Vietnam, to be able to come over. In talking with some of them yesterday, they were not in support at all with what the protests were all about. Their opinion was, “Yeah, maybe the process is long and difficult, but that’s the law and there are good reasons for it, so you just need to do it the right way.”
Are there problems with the legal immigration system we currently have in place? Of course there is. It’s a government run institution. Been to the DMV lately? One co-worker of mine, a Mexican, is going through the citizenship process right now. INS told him to go to a certain doctor to get some medical tests done. He did, paid the fees, only to have INS tell him that the results were no good because they found out that he wasn’t a real doctor. So, yeah, the system can certainly be streamlined. But right now it is the system we have and it has to be abided by. This co-worker told me he didn’t think it was right what was going on, even though these are “his people.” He told me that his people need to have a better image and follow the rules before they can demand anthing. “If you’re in somebody else’s house, you need to behave.”, he told me. I couldn’t have said it better myself.