Maybe, the better title is:
Immigration: Can We Stop Talking?
I find the current national conversation around immigration, immigrants, who's an immigrant and who's not, whose legal or whose not...to be, well, embarrassing. The last cogent, honest, thing I heard on Immigration came from Bill Murray's character John Winger in the movie Stripes:
Cut it out! Cut it out! Cut it out! The hell's the matter with you? Stupid! We're all very different people. We're not Watusi. We're not Spartans. We're Americans, with a capital 'A', huh? You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse...
As I let the rough draft of this post sit for a spell, I came across this:
Nation of immigrants is losing its mind over immigration. It's good. But I still think John Winger's is better.
Immigration is part of our foundation.
No. I changed my mind since I first wrote this a few weeks ago.
Immigration is our foundation.
Remember? Our country was founded with immigrants seeking freedom. Freedom of religion, freedom of destiny, freedom to pursue their happiness. For that pursuit in their home countries, our ancestors were kicked out. Kicked out of every country, decent or not.
Illegal Immigration was the Path
Our ancestors all came here illegally. They arrived without visas, without passports or IDs. There were no visas, no ICE, no Homeland Security, no fingers to be printed nor eyes to be scanned at ports of entry. There were no ports of entry. There were no H1B's...whatever. There were no no-fly lists.
So, before you cast a finger at those illegals or illegal immigrants look closely at your family tree. In there are your descendants. And one of them or two or more came here under terms that today would be considered illegal. And they had children, now known as anchor babies.
Ergo, that makes you, all of us, descendants of illegal immigrants and subject to deportation.
If we believe Rep. Louis Gohmert, R- TX, that makes us all descendants of terror babies, which makes our ancestors by default...terrrorists. See where this line of reasoning ends up?
(Aside: I can see some of those politicians screaming about the threat of terror babies being shocked to find out that they are the direct descendant of such an anchor baby. And then, seeing a knock on their front door by ICE.)
Oh, sure, the rules are here now. How convenient as the Church Lady would say. Now that WE'RE here...we make different rules.
You hear this claim that illegal immigrants are taking away our jobs.
Have you worked at meat-packing plant lately? Have you tried to live on the wages paid, sometimes not paid, for the jobs that are left for illegal immigrants?
Ask the farmers in Georgia how their farms ran when Georgia's anti-immigration bill went into effect?
Georgia's Governor Deal enacted the nation's toughest immigration law in the country. In May this year, he was very proud of his achievement, standing tough against the threat of illegal immigrants.
Two weeks later, that same governor was scrambling to review the provisions of his law that ultimately obeyed the more universal Law of Unintendend Consequences, ie, crops left rotting in the field.
As they say on Hee-Haw, Governor Deal....SAHHHHLOOT!
Yes, you'll read that replacement workers, ie, those with the right parents, refused to do the work.
Ok. THAT's WHOLE POINT! That's always been the whole point! Immigrants have always possessed high levels of motivation. Think about it. They left their home country to come here, not speaking the language, working in terrible job, living in crammed apartments for the opportunity here.
And that energy and enthusiasm are the marks of the entrepreneurial economy that has driven our country's growth for, oh, 200-300 years. Entrepreneurs aren't just Steve Jobs. Entrepreneurs are those who take their energy and determination and any opportunity and turn it into ...a business, a few jobs, and replicate this process millions of times.
Is it any coincidence that as restrictions are placed on immigration, legal or not, we see fewer and fewer jobs being created to replace the jobs eliminated by our corporate giants? In 1998, immigrants were running over 25% of the Silicon Valley businesses generating 16.8 billion in sales and 58,000 jobs. 1998. That was then. By 2009-2010, 52% of businesses created in Silicon Valley were created by...immigrants.
52% of a key economic driver for job creation was driven by...immigrants.
Let's go back to that earlier point about residents in Georgia would not do the work in the fields. Well, why should they? Why would we want them to? After our investment in their education through our public school system why would we want them doing manual labor? Seriously. To say Why yes, we want our children, after they graduate from high school, to work picking cotton...Ruhly?
Can we not expect a better return on our investment, as parents and educators and businesses, in their education than a career picking crops? If not, then our economy failed them. We failed them. Sure, sure, we all have personal responsibility. And we have a personal responsibility to generate a positive ROI from our investment of tax dollars in their education.
Immigration is our Brand.
America, that's you and me, the wretched refuse, the ones whose ancestors were kicked out of their country because they wanted a better future for their family, still, despite this last decade, the shining beacon of hope for a majority of the world. We were built on that promise. The most driven to succeed, the most creative, the most innovative...all sought refuge here, the opportunity here.
And we have all benefited from their success, our success.
Now. Where are we? Well, we're in the campaign season. Again. And politicians are playing the fear card and the other card to divide and conquer and reap the spoils of their efforts with votes and campaign donations and access to power.
Just remember, we're all descendants from illegal immigrants. That makes us children of anchor babies or terror babies. That means...
We're Americans, with a capital 'A', huh?
Our ancestors all came here under terms now known as illegal. That means that:
...our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse.
And, look what we've done with that opportunity!