Rejecting a Typical Anti-Immigration Stance on Moral and Philosophical Grounds, Part 2

Hxprof says (in his typically anti-immigrationist comments in response to my first Hub, Anti-Immigration is Anti-American, Hypocritical and Immoral), "America's crimes are many, and so are our good deeds. Though we've played our role in Mexico's current crisis, Mexico has played it's own cards poorly, in part by discouraging foriegn investments." In response to the first statement I will just say that I can think of no example, no place, no country, where our good deeds have outweighed our crimes and bad deeds-- that is, by our government. Good, selfless deeds are done, sure, even on a regular basis-- not by our government, but rather, by good-hearted individuals, activist organizations, church groups and such, based here in the U.S. and elsewhere. I don't believe it is much of an exaggeration to say that our government is almost always motivated by nothing more than cynicism and self-interest when interacting with other countries-- invariably to the detriment and/or destruction of those countries when they are relatively powerless and poor.

Although Hxprof, to his credit, acknowledges our role in Mexico's crisis, I am still reminded of what I've heard said multiple times about Haiti and the perennial plight of its people since the devastating earthquake struck there in early 2010-- that it's their fault. Hearing something like this said about such poverty-stricken, underdeveloped countries (Haiti even much more so than Mexico) immediately strikes up one feeling within me: shame. I feel ashamed that such an absence of empathy, compassion and pity is felt for fellow human beings much less fortunate and much less privileged than us in the United States-- especially when the nations to which they belong have a long history of oppression and exploitation at the hands of the U.S. government-- our government --as does Mexico and Haiti (the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere).

Are we the only oppresors and exploiters (and, dare I say, terrorists) of other nations in the world? No, of course not; all the other countries are pretty much the same given the same opportunities and disparate power relationships. However, since World War II, for more than a half a century now, the U.S. has been in a unique position to oppress and exploit as the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world with global reach. As a result, very naturally (though we should not be proud of it)-- because the more power and influence a country has, the more likely it is to exercise that power and influence in service of itself and its own enrichment --we and our country, the United States, have probably oppressed and exploited others more than anyone else.

Furthermore, blaming the victims of oppression and exploitation-- saying it's their own fault --in such cases reflects either a certain (willful, perhaps) ignorance, being uninformed, or, just a cold heart. Either way, it is a classic defense mechanism employed to protect one from responsibility-- direct or indirect, partial or whole. It is also a classic critical component of capitalist/corporatist and neoliberal/conservative rhetoric, thought and dogma. In the same way, corporate managers may blame "subordinates"-- who recoginize or sense the inherently undemocratic, oppressive, unjust and demoralizing nature of the standard authoritarian corporate system of control, and therefore, want to be no more a part of it than they already are, or have to be, to make a living --for not advancing and prospering in their company; or, likewise, poor people-- who have been alienated from mainstream society and may live in bleak ghettos and slums --often get blamed for being too lazy to improve their depressed condition and lot in life.

Lastly, I'd like to address the general rationale (or rationalization) Hxprof gives (but is heard in some form from countless other anti-immigrationists as well) for why we should oppose a more lenient and flexible border policy-- thereby supporting the drastic border enforcement measures already in place. He says: "To be against illegal immigration is to be against chaos, especially in a 9/11 world. Secured borders are necessary for our safety, and for the well-being of our citizens (those born here and those naturalized). "

I wholeheartedly object to and reject such faulty notions and foolish sentiments. There is nothing chaotic per se about illegal immigration. And were we to significantly loosen the restrictions placed on immigration, welcoming considerably more immigrants than we currently do, there would be nothing inherently chaotic about that either-- or, as explained in Part 1 of this hub, nothing necessarily we could not manage. These exaggerated visions, propagated by some, of immigrants run amok are nothing more than hogwash and fear-mongering. As are the attempts to confuse 9/11 and terrorism with illegal immigration.

For perspective, it is worth pointing out that despite having (by most estimates) more than 10 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. today, relatively few-- perhaps less than a dozen or two --people illegally residing here have been been involved in terrorist plots against the U.S. that were either carried out or foiled; in addition, none of those, to the best of my knowledge, have been from Mexico or any of the other leading Latin American countries from which the vast majority of immigrants come. Is it right, therefore, to punish any and all "illegal" immigrants for the atrocious acts of a disproportionately miniscule few? Not to mention, all-- yes, all --of the nineteen 9/11 terrorists arrived and were living here, at least for a period of time, legally-- yes, legally. (The visas belonging to a few of them had expired by the day of the attacks.) Thus, it is misguided, muddle-headed and irresponsible to link 9/11 and terrorism to illegal immigration and thereby suggest that order and security will somehow result or be enhanced by clamping down on immigration and making our borders even less porous.

"Securing our borders"-- frequently used as a euphemism for closing and militarizing our borders (even more than they already are) --for our safety may sound like a good idea, but it is a fallacious one indeed. When terrorism is often homegrown and perpetrated just as easily-- or more so --by "legal" residents and citizens as it is by "illegal" visitors to our country, then acting to increasingly block, bar and hamper the movement of people across our borders is a fool's errand and entirely pointless as a means to counter and combat terrorism. If we were truly serious about wanting to reduce and minimize the likelihood of acts of terrorism being committed against anyone anywhere in the world, we would take an earnest look at the express grievances of groups prone to plotting and carrying out such violent, heinous, and heartless crimes against humankind, and then work to address and resolve, or at least mitigate, them.

So then, what is more important with regard to our attitude towards and actions vis a vis immigrants in the United States: That we do what is morally sound and right? Or, that we perpetuate xenophobic ideas and continue to sustain immigration policies based on ignorance, selfish concerns and unfounded fears? I hope that as a community, as the people of the United States, we can and will answer positively to the former and not the latter.

Comments 2 comments

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vrajavala 5 years ago from Port St. Lucie

Every country in the world secures its borders.There have always been reasons for being careful. For the first time in 50 years, Miami had its first case of cholera from a traveler from haiti. My ancestors spent some time in Ellis Island, being observed for possible illnesses.

A culture is a complicated thing my friend.

The European Union has admitted that its open door on workers was a huge mistake. It is now over-ridden with those who disrespect their new country's culture, refuse to learn its language and threaten the original inhabitants.

I know you are thinking that to be charitable, you have to have no rules.That is a mistake.

Agudname 5 years ago from Middleton, WI Author

Actually, no, that is not what I'm thinking at all. That is a misinterpretation of what I am saying. As I think I make perfectly clear more than once in my Hubs, it is not about being charitable (although I hope we can agree that is not a bad thing); it is about doing what is morally sound and right. No doubt there should be certain rules and procedures in place for such purposes as preventing the spread of disease, and I do not say in my Hub that there shouldn't be. But that is not really the reason our policies are as strict and as prohibitive and as unconstitutional (as I discuss in my first Hub) and as contemptuous of human rights (discussed in my first Hub) as they are, is it? And it certainly doesn't justify the extent to which they are strict, prohibitive, unconstitutional, and contemptuous of human rights, does it?

As I say just above, I am speaking of how many people use the euphemism "securing our borders" in the context of immigration and terrorism-- and the false link between them --to demonize immigrants and scare people into thinking that immigrants are "the enemy" and that if we could just "secure our borders" (as though we're at war), we'd be so much safer, and that is just nonsense and wrong (as explained above).

You, my friend, are confusing my defense and advocacy of human rights and just immigration policies with charity.

As far as what you say about the European Union now being "over-ridden with those who disrespect their new country's culture, refuse to learn its language and threaten the original inhabitants," I admit I do not know as much about the immigration issues throughout the EU, so I must take you at your word. But if those are the only reasons given for a more open policy being a mistake I think the argument for NOT having a more open policy is weak at best. These reasons are dubious given that they are often the same things said about immigrants here in the U.S. but are way overblown at best or flat-out untrue.

You see, a culture 'is' a complicated thing, mi amigo. It is also usually NOT a single, monolithic thing-- especially here in the U.S. We have been a multicultural, multiethnic society from our inception. That is not to say we are not all bound together by certain illegitimate predominant influences, societal norms and a governmental framework of ideas and values (ideas and values not necessarily shared by everyone)-- but those things do not qualify as or constitute a single, monolithic U.S. 'culture'... So when it is said that immigrants may "disrespect their new country's culture," exactly which U.S. culture of the many are we talking about?

Putting immigrants down for 'refusing' to learn a language is not fair either and it certainly doesn't stand as a valid argument against immigration. How can it when for all but the exceptional few with a facility for learning languages, it's not a matter of 'refusing' but of not being able to through no fault of their own? After all, it's not at all easy for most people (once they've gotten past a certain age in childhood, under which we all seem to learn at least our first language without even trying)to learn a new language. It's a little like telling someone they should learn calculus and then putting them down when they don't. I know language barriers can be tough when communicating with others, but we should not take it out on those who don't speak 'our' language and it is no good justification-- even partially --for closing our borders. In addition, there are few immigrants not at all willing to learn as much as they can-- however limited it may be --if only to make their own lives easier.

And "threaten the original inhabitants"? C'mon... Applied to the U.S. at least, that's simply laughable. First off, who are the original inhabitants? Native Americans? And what would we be threatened with? New ideas? New languages? New ways of sensing, interpreting and looking at the world? That's just more xenophobia and fear-mongering.

We all would do well to stop seeing ourselves as separate distinct groups of people divided by imaginary lines, and instead as one community of human beings with a shared set of feelings, emotions and global interests. Get out of your provincial box, mi compadre.

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