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Erster Mai

 


Erster Mai

Originally uploaded by elmada.

There are so many possible directions to go with today’s blog entry, that I couldn’t begin to enumerate them.

I could discuss today as Labor Day—the day celebrating the worker in most of the world, excluding most English speaking countries (save the United Kingdom and Ireland). It’s a grand day, I should note, celebrated in Weimar with a very tall May Pole, a rally for the upcoming Mayoral election, and a gigantic flea market.

I could talk about my day, how I had a pot of tea at the quiet until after I got there Café Laden, and then wandered around town taking a ton of photos of graffiti, but I won’t: I’ll talk about the graffiti later.

Instead I am going to talk about America and the trouble with immigration, for today is the day that there are huge pro-immigration rallies being held across the United States of America.

It is fascinating to see that it has taken what I thought was a relatively mundane issue, to get the American public excited. We are seeing impassioned voices from both sides of the issue rallying hundreds of thousands of individuals to get out and actually protest. Denver is expecting 50,000 people to attend today’s pro-immigration rally and some undetermined number will counter-protest arguing that being an illegal alien should be a felony.

Few have protested George W. Bush’s wiretapping of US citizens, in comparison.

Ultimately I fall on the pro-immigration side of the issue.

Idiotic Republicans, such as Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Littleton, Colorado), who want lots of police at the rally to arrest all the illegal aliens and send them back to… well, wherever they happen to be from, are incredibly shrill and, hopefully, ineffective. Funny enough his family immigrated to the United States (like the vast majority of US Citizens; only a few US Citizens have no immigrants in their family tree).

Random Tancredo Aside: He wants to Nuke Mecca.

As the beacon of economic hope in the Western Hemisphere, the United States has a responsibility which includes casting the economic opportunity net far and wide. Illegal immigrants come to the United States looking for economic rewards and educational rewards and in the process enrich America’s culture. They also take jobs that otherwise go unfilled.

My methodology for resolving the illegal immigration problem is the easy one: legalize it. People should not need to run through the desert in the middle of the night dodging private militias and risking dehydration: they should be able to show their passports and cross the border legally.

For the record, the language immigrants speak should not be an issue—what needs to be an issue is their acceptance of the underlying cultural values of the United States. They need to be pro-diversity, pro-tolerance, and pro-liberty.

And when it comes to the national anthem? As I understand it, Nuestro Himno omits references to war and encourages a nonviolent struggle for freedom, which automatically makes it better than the English language version which celebrates a war against a nation that is now our greatest ally.

2 comments to Erster Mai

  • Ed

    I have always thought it to be hypocritical for the politicians to be against foreigners while at the same time a plaque at the Statue of Liberty says: (paraphrased) Give me your tired, your poor, yearning to breath free. Send these, the teeming refuse from foreign shores,to me I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

  • I also support the immigrants and hope for an amnesty, but I think there are some complexities to consider.

    What often gets forgotten is this debate is the role employers play in attracting illegal migrants to the US. The number of illegal immigrants in the US would be far lower if employers weren’t willing to hire them (at sub-minimum wage). The average migrant who enters the US without documentation knows that jobs are usually available- even without a Social Security Number or visa. Thus, I think it is unfair to deport workers without an equally harsh pentalty against the companies who hire them (and often exploit them).

    Except for members of Native American tribes, every American is either an immigrant or descends from immigrants. However, the vast majority of immigration has (historically) been “legal”. Until the 1920s, the U.S. had regulations in place that admitted unskilled immigrants. Thus, many people entered the US with relatively little money or education. It is extremely likely that most of the illegal immigrants in the U.S. would have chosen to immigrate under an unskilled worker program if one existed. So the U.S. should consider whether or not to establish a program and debate its size, scope, etc. Also, a large majority of unskilled migrants in the U.S. originate in Mexico; can an unskilled migrant program guarantee a “fair” admission policy to migrants from other countries? (One can argue that many Latin American nations- Nicaragua and Peru come to mind- are in far worse economic straits than Mexico and deserve to have their citizens included in a program). It is also hypocritical of the Mexican government to loudly advocate the rights of Mexicans living in the United States while simoultaneously carrying out human rights abuses against illegal immigrants who have migrated to Mexico from Central America.

    The U.S. should also review its skilled worker immigration programs, especially the so-called “green card” program for permanent residency. This program leaves many workers in years-long limbo; one immigrant couple I met (a Dutch man and his Canadian wife) applied in 2001 and waited four years without communication from the U.S. government, and they ultimately gave up and moved to Canada instead. Other individuals with green cards “in process” have told me about rules forbidding them to leave the country (even for family funerals and weddings) during the months and years that their applications are being processed. And some green card applicants are exploited: since green cards typically require employee sponsorship, and termination by an employer usually cancels the green card process, workers sometimes agree to long hours, lower wages, and worse working conditions than their American-born peers. Ultimately, it would be unfair to overhaul unskilled worker migration without also considering the plight of those trapped by the green card system.