It was a stunningly beautiful day on the trail. Crisp fresh air, wild flowers lasting longer than usual with unusually cool days. We hiked faster than ever, fully oxygenated. The leader of our hiking posse had these thoughts today about the political right’s position on immigration:
Why wouldn’t Republicans want to extend citizenship to millions of hard-working Mexicans who contribute “illegally” to our economy? Today’s bile-spewing Republican “leaders” seem really eager to tax the poor.
These workers would provide a new source for tax revenue — while keeping the marginal tax rates (on wealthy, country-club Americans) from returning to Clinton-era levels. Oh, right. Boehner and his cronies don’t want to raise taxes… but they are okay with reducing social benefits, effectively denying access to higher education, and realistic health care options for the people who most need assistance. Thank you, Nancy, for making this point.
The Tea Partying, flag-draped, Bible-banging self-anointed Keepers of the Constitution don’t get it. Do they have a plan to “repatriate” millions of people who’ve lived here for decades — their nannies and cooks and gardeners and maintenance workers — back to Mexico? I haven’t seen one.
Can one be truly Christian and also be uncharitable to the extent we hear screaming at us from the faces on Fox News? Do we really want to maintain permanent (and rapidly growing) sub-rosa, terrified underclass in our country?
Blonde will shortly regain her composure and return to humor. Or something like that.
There are many ways of looking at the state of immigration in our country. It’s complex, and the solution isn’t clear-cut. “Right and wrong” may seem fuzzy. but it’s time to put aside politics and look at real lives, and into the eyes of real people. Cogent and arguable points abound on every side. A few simple things are quite clear.
We have a brain and talent drain concerning the excellent, brilliant and talented grads who train at our universities and who are eager to start or enrich enterprises (and employ our citizens) here in our country. But our policies make this difficult. Most are compelled to return to their homelands to find work. These are people who often fuel new enterprise: their successes are most visible throughout Silicon Valley. But many more cannot give back to the country that has advanced their education… because of roadblocks in the H1-A visa category.
The situation concerning illegal workers who’ve been coming here from Mexico over the past decades is more complex. There are tens of millions of people here, harvesting the crops that in turn fill our bulging supersized supermarkets; cleaning offices, resorts, casinos and factories; working in construction and doing the “dirty work” that nobody else wants to do. Stephen Colbert said it best. We are not going to miraculously expel tens of millions of people from our country — people whose work keeps us fed, housed and able to maintain “our American lifestyles.”
Yes, they are here illegally. They also have children who are now young adults. Most of these people have been in the U.S. since they were babies and toddlers. They speak Spanish, but have never been to Mexico. They are of Mexican heritage but see themselves as Americans… similar to the waves of immigrants who came here for the past two hundred fifty years. They want to serve in our military. They want to improve their lives, and the lives of their hard-working parents, by going to college. But every access to assimilation and “giving back” to the U.S. is blocked by our current absolutist immigration policy.
This letter from President Obama arrived in my inbox today. I invite you to read it. Continue reading Blonde Goes Political: Let’s Get Real on Immigration Reform