Saturday, October 22, 2016

American History (Commentary): Vote for the Freedom of Immigrants in America

Immigrants coming through Ellis Island seeking a better life IN AMERICA, not their native country.

Before you begin reading this post -- which is an opinion piece as much as a historical commentary -- please view the video below.  Today's post is a conversation about immigration and what today is seen as "hatred being perpetrated by Donald Trump."  And yes, Trump spouts a lot of hatred.  But his hatred is fueled by real concerns that have been expressed by the American people.  This post is meant to discuss and point out the valid portions of those concerns, not the bastardization of those problems that Trump is using as a platform for fame and attention.  This video from GQ and Keith Olberman make some really salient points, and their points about Trump specifically -- and how he treats people -- are pretty spot on.  However, I take umbrage and issue with that the real American issues with immigration today have any correlation with your grandfather or great-grandfather's correlation -- they do not.  These are a different generation of people, enabled by a government that does not have your best interests in mind.

The simplicity in his statement ignores and dances around the real problem that many Americans have with immigrants today -- and comparing them to the Irish, Germans or Italians (or insert 19th and early 20th century immigrant group here) is that they came to America to better this country. They were willing, able and persevered to assimilate into American culture. They brought their culture and beliefs with them, and combined them with America to make a better country. They worked, became citizens, paid taxes, learned the language and contributed directly and indirectly to the betterment of the growth of America. 

They were still segregated, denied jobs, experienced cultural blowback and were denied the same rights as "Americans". Even with that, the Italians, Irish, Germans etc assimilated, became part of the fabric of this growing nation in a way today's immigrants (both legal and illegal) have not done nor do they seek to do so. 

Instead, the large portion of immigrants that have come to this country since the 60's have come here and worked illegally. They have not paid income tax, they have sent their money back to the country they have come from. They are culturally shunned by citizens because our corrupt government turns a blind eye to this practice, because these immigrants are willing to come to America and work for slave wages while being racially profiled in order to receive medical care, what amounts to bountiful riches in their country, have their children educated and open businesses here that may not make them rich here, but it does make their families rich. They can then turn around and return to their native country and live comfortably after a time. A recent episode of "Fresh Off the Boat shows this in action. If a baby is born here? Boom -- citizen. If their illegal immigrant daughter marries an American? Boom - citizen. And these things are happening in spades today. They do not bother to make an effort to assimilate, they do not learn the language any more than necessary -- some times not at all. Does this make them lazy? Or people who do not work hard? Of course not. Instead, they either work with their heads down hoping not to be caught, or they push to have our laws changed to so that they may make this country a little more like the one they came from instead of trying to become "American"... whatever that means today to millennials who support this behavior. 

I, for one -- a descendant of a Ellis Island immigrant couple who came to this country and changed our last name to project pride and assimilate, who persevered to learn the language, become citizens, pay taxes and have a child who helped BUILD ELLIS ISLAND in order to commemorate the immigration movement that helped build America -- do not appreciate the actions of the immigrants who live in this country today. I do not look to oppress them in any way, however asking them to obey our laws, pay our taxes and become "Americans" is not oppression. It is asking these GUESTS in our country to simply be good guests. Think about it this way... one of your child's friends whom you do not know comes in to your living room, takes the groceries as they come into your house and eats them but demands you buy chorizo sausage or -- no pork at all because it offends them... and does it in Spanish, or German, or Hindi. What would you reaction be? In your house? You may be polite, you may even make an effort to accommodate them - but there is a line. There is always a line. So ask yourself, America, where is your line? Comparing the immigrants that Trump (fairly or unfairly) targets to the immigrants who built America is an inapt comparison. It is unfair to the immigrants who worked hard. This is not a "we are all Middle Eastern" or "we are all human" conversation, at all. This is a "what is best for America, and how can immigrants contribute to this country and not be a drain on it" conversation while adding in the complexity of "how can we make our government stop enabling illegal activity that exists in order to prop up our orange juice and peach markets" conversation? Because that is all we are doing here... enabling illegal activity so that we, Americans, do not have to make hard decisions. Instead, we allow the illegal activity so we can deflect the blame from where it really belongs: The American Government and the American people. Make the hard decision this election cycle: vote your conscience, and consider voting for Gary Johnson - the only sane candidate who supports real immigration reform that will work.  The way our immigration system "works" in America today is nothing more than a new version of slavery.  Let's create a real path to citizenship in America that anyone can traverse if they choose to, and then look to deport those who do not walk that path.  We can not simply "send them all home" without allowing them a fair option of citizenship -- which we do not do today.

Click here to learn more about Gary Johnson for President.

Remember: this is a country built by immigrants, furthered by immigrants and for the betterment of the lives of individuals through the right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."  Let's right this ship, and get back to the idea that that way of living is actually possible in America.

Bruce holds a degrees in Computer Science, Biblical History and American History from Temple University, Liberty University and American Public University.  He is a member of the Historical Studies Honor Society and the Saber and Scroll Society.  He has worked in educational technology for over 20 years, specializes in building infrastructures for schools that work to support the mission of technology in education in the classroom.  He also has served as a classroom teacher in Computer Science, History and English classes.  

Be on the lookout for Towering Pines Volume Two: The Sound and the Fury which is currently a work in progress.