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My brilliant brother's thoughts on immigration.

Posted by Maureen Friday, February 08, 2008

My elder brother, Adam, is one of the best writers I know. And it comes out in his explanation below of his thoughts on immigration issues. I couldn't agree more.

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People who take advantage of “the system” to meet unhealthy goals and who use public assistance beyond their true needs should be dealt with swiftly. Agreed.

There may not be a perfect system for immigrating people into our nation. There may not be a perfect system for dealing with those who have gained entry outside of the set immigration laws. The issues caused by this may be resolved someday in the future, and they may not. If this is the case, then one important decision we face as individuals is this…how will we perceive, approach and regard those human beings. Those mothers, fathers and children who are caught in the tension?

Many of you will read this and brush it off as unworthy of consideration. I encourage you to not. Take a moment to look at the world through someone’s eyes besides your own. It could change you…..or it may not.

As Americans, we tend to view ourselves as, to put it simply, the best nation on the planet. We also cherish our “birth-rights”. Because we were born on this soil, we deserve things that others don’t. “DESERVE”. The definition of the root words is: "be entitled to because of good service".

Well, the claim warrants the question, “what has any American done, prior to birth, that would be considered good service?”

Let me say, there is no question that millions of great Americans, many of whom I have the honor of knowing personally, have done great services to this nation. Some have given more than could ever be asked of a citizen. Their worth is acknowledged and should be greatly rewarded. Honored as they are, these are not the people group we are discussing.

We hurl accusations and blame at other human beings based on the concept that we deserve something that they don’t simply because we were born here. Many intellectuals will try to blow this topic out into a complex web of issues, giving personal reasons for feeling the way they do. There is no question that personal experience is rightly a major factor in the formation of our opinions and values. Yet, while we anchor our arguments on our own life experiences, how often do we take into consideration the life experiences of those we dislike? Those we oppose? Those we accuse? Those we hate?

For someone adamantly opposed to the tolerance of “illegal aliens”, there is no limit to the wealth of financial and logistical testimony to convict illegal immigration of severely wounding America. For others, there is a human side to the issue that cannot be ignored. We can see that this issue is a legitimate problem that needs addressing, but are not willing to huddle in a corner with other Americans and employ an “us vs. them” mentality to the situation.

It can be a seemingly complicated prospect to explain how one feels about people from other nations fleeing their homeland to find a better life in ours. However, I challenge those of you with an open mind to consider how simple this can really be…

If America were stormed and overtaken by another nation or group (and someday, it may very well be)…..

…and if a dictator or government were installed that either persecuted or discriminated against Americans…

…and if it became nearly impossible for you to obtain employment that would provide for the basic needs of your family…

…and if your children began to cry through the night in hunger and fear…

…and if your spouse suffered unchecked harassment from government officials…

…and if you began to fear for your lives due to the threat of authorities or other desperate citizens….

…and if you heard of a country where large corporations were hiring immigrants, without papers, to come to work…

…and you could provide health care, food, and safety for your children…

…and if someone told you that there were requirements that you could not meet, at least not in time…

…would you go? Would you flee? Would you try to save your family?...

…Or would you tell your hungry children that there are laws that must be followed, and it may be a matter of years before they have a decent meal…

And if you decided to go there, with all the risks involved, and you and your spouse died before you had a chance to establish your family….

How would you hope that the people of that country would treat your children? Would you want them to receive hateful stares because of their inability to speak the native tongue? Would you want them to be called “aliens”? Would you want them to be coldly escorted back to the misery from which you were trying rescue them with nothing but a scoff and “good riddance”?

I am not directing this at any person or group. I don’t want to argue. I battle in my own mind over this issue often enough. However, it seems that there are plenty of emails circulating that illuminate the great problems we face due to the onslaught of “illegal aliens”. So, today, I was struck with the urge to write an email about the great tragedy of dehumanization that occurs when we mentally collect individuals into one giant box and stamp it “PROBLEM”.

It is a problem, yes. But they are still people.

If they were our own flesh and blood, we would want them to be treated that way.

1 comments:

Sage said...

Senor (Bob Dylan, 1978, Street Legal

Senor, senor, do you know where we're headin'?
Lincoln County Road or Armageddon?
Seems like I been down this way before.
Is there any truth in that, senor?

Senor, senor, do you know where she is hidin'?
How long are we gonna be ridin'?
How long must I keep my eyes glued to the door?
Will there be any comfort there, senor?

There's a wicked wind still blowin' on that upper deck,
There's an iron cross still hanging down from around her neck.
There's a marchin' band still playin' in that vacant lot
Where she held me in her arms and said, "Forget me not."

Senor, senor, I can see that painted wagon,
I can smell the tail of the dragon.
Can't stand the suspense anymore.
Can you tell me who to contact here, senor?

Well the last thing I remember before I stripped and kneeled
Was that trainload of fools bogged down in a magnetic field.
A gypsy with a broken flag and a flashing ring
Said, "Son, this ain't a dream no more, it's the real thing."

Senor, senor, you know their hearts here is as hard as leather.
Well, give me a minute, let me get it together.
I just gotta pick myself up off the floor.
I'm ready when you are, senor.

Senor, senor, let's overturn these tables,
Disconnect these cables.
This place don't make sense to me no more.
Can you tell me what we're waiting for, senor?