The Immigration Debate: Taking on Arizona
We All Have A Right
By Alma Lopez
Does one really have the power to discriminate against someone who does not look, talk or dress like them? No! There is an estimated six million illegal immigrants residing in the US (Masci). It’s time for the Unites States to learn not to be so greedy and money hungry. Illegal immigration benefits the Unites States in many ways.
Let’s start with the obvious; we are a nation of immigrants. Therefore, its time to start accepting the reality and stop acting like immigrants are some type of deadly disease. All of the people who come to this country come in search for a better life. You really think that one is going to risk their life to gross the dangerous boarder if they didn’t have a desperate need? Do you really thing that one wants to leave its home town to come to a completely new state that they now nothing about? I would say no. If people are risking their life to come to the U.S. what we call “the land of the frees the land of opportunities”, don’t you think that there’s something really wrong in their hometown?
“The American is a new man who acts upon new principles; he must therefore, entertain new ideas and form new opinions” (Crevecoeur 26). My understanding of Crevecoeur’s definition it is that anyone with half of a brain could be an American. So why doesn’t the United States accept the immigrant? All the immigrant is trying to do is superior themselves, open and bring new ideas to this country, but their ideas are being shut down do to this big discrimination that surrounds us. If America can’t accept their language from Spanish to Japanese then how do we expect to accept their contribution or ideas they bring to better the economy?
Immigrants don’t come to steal jobs, or try to take what belongs to an American heck; they can’t even take what’s ours if they wanted to. Due to the fact that almost everywhere you go to one need a valid social security and most of them don’t have it. The argument is not about immigrants taking a job away, is not about them over populating the world, is about Americans being ignorant and abusing all immigrants! The United States prides themselves on being this great country were they all follow laws and their respectful and honorable. The truth is that’s all a bunch of crap! Businesses in America are no longer run ethically, but unethically the law in America is no one should hire illegal immigrants, yet why do immigrants keep coming to the U.S? I’ll tell you why, because the business men is going against the law and abusing this people. They rather pay an illegal person 7$ an hour then an American 10$ an hour.
Economically view what really matters to the U.S is money, not the well being of the people, or the health of the people, but how much profit can the U.S. get from this people. Opinions vary about the economic effects of immigration. Those who find that immigrants produce a negative effect on the U.S. economy often focus on the difference between taxes paid and government services received and wage-lowering effects among low-skilled native workers, while those who find positive economics effects focus on added productivity and lower costs to consumers for certain goods and services. In a late 1980s study, economists themselves overwhelmingly viewed immigration, including illegal immigration, as a positive for the economy. According to James Smith, a senior economist at Santa Monica-based RAND Corporation and lead author of the United States National Research Council's study "The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration", immigrants contribute as much as $10 billion to the U.S. economy each year and all this talk about how immigrants don’t pay taxes is a lie. Some of them do pay taxes. They get a fake social security number and a fake permit that allows them to work in the U.S. and pay their taxes. The immigrants don’t get all the money they deserve back. Anti- immigration people base their facts on immigrants that do not pay taxes and how if this people would pay taxes the U.S. would benefit more not knowing that immigrant get about 15% of what they earned yearly in their taxes from the 100% their supposed to get back (Daniel Ortiz)! Another thing anti-immigration people don’t talk about is how they don’t discriminate when it comes time to deduct social security, health care or medical from their checks. “Oh no”, their not immigrants right there and then they too have to pay for what they wont get back, because immigrants do not get social security benefits or medical benefits all that money that gets taken away from them they don’t EVER get it back! So when they retired are they going to be getting their social security check coming in? No! That’s money that the government takes from immigrants. So why don’t this anti-immigrant people focus on that area. So before one starts running their mouth about how immigrants don’t pay taxes, educate yourself before talking because some do pay taxes even worse they get money taken away from their income that their not even going to get back! So just imagine how many illegal people work and get money taken away, and you still argue about how they don’t pay taxes when technically they contribute 1000$ of dollars due to this deduction from their income that they do not claim back.
The drive and attitude of immigrants who came to America during the nineteen twenties through the nineteen sixties built strong work ethics that created our now famous American melting pot. “An estimated 150,000 undocumented Mexican immigrants enter the United States each year (fox pg 3). Their labor in Florida orange groves, Georgia onion fields, Las Vegas hotels and Oregon nurseries-has filled growth in many parts of the American economy” (Thompson A8). Even with all of their contributions they still have to sneak into America through isolated desert areas where they die by the hundreds each year from exposure to heat or cold.
Two proposals have been written regarding Mexican migrant workers. Both would increase the number of guest workers; however one would allow immigrants with a certain number of years of agricultural service to apply for legal residency, while the other one will not allow the migrant workers to apply for residency nor does it call for any amnesty. But if you are a Canadian citizen coming into America you could past the borders with no problems. Why is that you ask? Mostly because Canadians do not want to come to America and live they are contempt with their own Country. So you’re telling me that you prefer to give someone who does not want to form part of the American life their residency? The whole point of one becoming a resident from the Unites States is because one wants to adapt and learn the American life.
Ward James discusses the many problems with immigrations in the 1900s he says, that there are “no officials, expert in diagnosing mental and physical defects, were sent aboard to pick out the fittest and most desirable aliens for introduction into this country, or even placed on board ship to pick them out in transit.”(Ward ) Which makes you wonder what was actually more important to people back in those days, someone that would work for almost nothing or someone that was healthy. According to Ward the answer would be cheap labor. What’s wrong with this people now and days I say? Doesn’t anyone have morals or a heart? Where is the American dignity and pride? Up till today things have not changed very much. Now there are people (Americans) who will actually go across borders and bring back Mexican immigrants/migrants to work on their farms, factories, etc. Just for the sake of cheap labor. It’s funny how this same people are the ones that argue that immigrants are over populating our world.
Once immigrants come to America they quickly assimilate our culture and customs, because America becomes their second home to them, even if their second home treats them with no honor or respect. “There is no doubt that we are absorbing the immigrant into our national life, but we are doing it with a reckless disregard of the suffering and the loss of idealism which our laissez-faire policy inevitably entails” (Abbott). Many do things like change their names, dress style and most try to rid themselves of their accents. Doing these will in one way or the other make American people more comfortable with them, causing them to accept them not for who they really are but for who we want them to be. “This policy is as wrong in principle as it will always be unsuccessful in practice” (Abbott). By allowing this to happen not only are we allowing people to lose their individuality, but we are also destroying their culture and adapt to ours. Many of the customs that the immigrants could bring would form a valuable gift to our national life.
From 1980 to 1990, immigration law underwent a period of change comparable in importance to the reforms of 1965 and the early 1920s (Daniel Ortiz). At the same time, the debate over immigration has expanded to incorporate a broad range of foreign policy issues. The discussion now features arguments on U.S. relations with Latin America, human rights, international trade, and the worldwide refugee crisis.
American cannot come from a piece a paper, but better yet from what the individual contributes to the American Society as a whole. Whether it’s their culture, religion, or adding to our workforce. If the U.S. really wanted to be fair they should look at each case on an individual level. Not all Mexican migrants want food stamps or welfare; most just want a chance for a better life. If you really look at the situation the people that are in welfare and food stamps are does lazy Americans we have. For the American Government to stereotype a whole race because of a few people is completely wrong. I’m not saying let everyone in but on the same hand don’t turn everyone away. For example, people who have been here for more then 10 years I believe should have a right to claim residency of the Unites States having a clean back ground. To be completely honest none of us are from here, every race that is in America now that is considered American, has contributed to the building of America; therefore other races can only add on to the good things that are happening in America.
Arizona Law Targets Ethnic Studies
Arizona has passed another reactionary bill, signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer on May 11, that aims to eliminate Mexican-American Studies and allethnic studies programs in Arizona public schools. House Bill 2281 declares that a school district or charter school in the state cannot include in its program of instruction any course or classes that include any of the following:
And the new law has teeth; any violations of its provisions will be punished by having 10% of their state funds withheld from the school district or charter school.
This new law comes on the heels of Arizona's reactionary anti-immigrant law, SB1070, which legalizes racial profiling by requiring police to stop and question anyone who they suspect is undocumented. That was followed by an announcement by the state's Department of Education that teachers with heavy accents must be removed from classes for students still learning English. Many have interpreted this as targeting immigrant teachers who were first hired under a program to teach bilingual education, a program later abolished as part of the overall anti-immigrant climate. This attack on ethnic studies represents yet another "brick in the wall" of an officially sanctioned white supremacy and American chauvinism in Arizona, while encouraging its spread around the country. Arizona has become an ugly battleground, and testing ground, for a new "Jim Crow," reviving an official second-class status for the 30% of the people of Arizona who are Latino.
The author of this new law is Tom Horne, Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State of Arizona's Department of Education, and Republican candidate for state attorney general. Horne has made it no secret that the law is specifically aimed at eliminating the Tucson Unified School District's (TUSD) Mexican-American Studies program and ethnic studies programs in general. Roughly 56% of the TUSD district's 55,000 students are Latino, and about 3% of the students take these classes, which offer a rigorous course of study that gives students college qualifying credit. But Horne said the new law will put an end to this; it "would ban La Raza (Mexican-American) studies because it's a course that's aimed primarily at members of one race, and we have testimony that this has promoted resentment toward one race." And he also said the law would end other ethnic studies courses as well. [5/1/10 Arizona Republic]Students "should not be taught that they are oppressed"
Horne has been point-man for a years-long campaign to wipe out ethnic studies classes and courses in the secondary schools. In June 2007, on official state Department of Education stationary, Horne wrote "An Open Letter to the Citizens of Tucson," arguing that the TUSD Ethnic Studies Program should be terminated. He charged that "ethnic studies in the TUSD teaches a kind of destructive ethnic chauvinism…" He said "…students should be taught that this is the land of opportunity, and that if they work hard they can achieve their goals. They should not be taught that they are oppressed."
In other words, in the view of Arizona's Superintendent of Public Instruction the purpose of public education is to tell students what to think--not to enable them to develop the ability to be critical thinkers. "Truth"—for Horne and those like him whose starting point is protecting and preserving this system—is whatever set of ideas correspond to achieving their goals. What is being demonstrated now in Arizona is that raw power dictates what "narrative" about this country's history and present-day reality will be taught—that "might makes right."
Horne's letter went further; it singled out for attack particular books used in the curriculum, including Occupied America: A History of Chicanos by historian Rudolfo Acuña, a book which received the Gustavus Myers Award for an Outstanding Book on Race Relations in North America, and has been used as a standard text in college-level curricula for Chicano (Mexican-American) Studies for many years. And Horne targeted the student group MEChA for attack as well.
State Senator Russell Pearce, author of SB 1070, made this point even more openly in his amendments to a bill in the state Senate, SB 1108—a bill that had nothing to do with education—approved by the Arizona Senate's House Appropriations Committee in mid-April. It would withhold funding to schools, including on the college level, whose courses "denigrate American values and the teachings of Western civilization," and would bar teaching practices that "overtly encourage dissent" from those values, including "democracy, capitalism, pluralism and religious tolerance." Pearce too targeted Mexican-American Studies at the TUSD, and included provisions that would ban student groups like MEChA on any public campuses. The Senate bill would have confiscated books and teaching materials that are deemed "anti-American." Pearce also singled out Acuna's Occupied America, saying it amounted to "sedition." It appears these provisions did not make it into this final law, but they reveal the whole climate around this dangerous offensive.The origin and importance of ethnic studies
As the national liberation and anti-imperialist struggles of the 1960s developed and a revolutionary current emerged, one powerful expression was the hard-fought student strikes demanding courses, departments and schools of ethnic studies. While the students of oppressed nationalities had to fight just to get into the universities, what they confronted when they got there was an educational system which distorted or suppressed those aspects of history and present-day reality that challenged and put the lie to the bullshit about America's "shining example," and its "special place" in the world. They began at in 1968, which saw the longest student strike in U.S. history, led by the Third World Liberation Front (a joint effort of , , Chicano, and student organizations of other nationalities). That strike established the first School of Ethnic Studies.
Ethnic studies programs, which later expanded to include women's studies, gender studies, etc., established a foothold where oppressed nationality students especially could for the first time learn about and be part of discovering their own history; the struggle and resistance; and the contributions to art, culture, science, etc. of Black, Chicano, Native American, Asian and other oppressed peoples in this country. This contributed significantly to bringing to light the truth that America's ultimate global domination rested on the foundation of the kidnap of millions and millions of African peoples and their enslavement in the "new world," the genocidal destruction of the Native American peoples, and the theft through war of 40% of the territory of Mexico as the start of a process of conquest that ultimately spanned the globe.
An essential element in the reassertion of the white supremacy and American patriotism on the rise today is the need to restore that "official narrative" about America and its "special role" as the "good guys" in the world. To these reactionary forces, the Mexican-American and other ethnic studies programs on the secondary school and college campuses are an obstacle that must be eliminated.
Whether or not those in power in Arizona succeed in banning ethnic studies outright, the reactionary assault on education that's now been given the official stamp of approval by Arizona's new law is already having a chilling affect on those coming under attack, and it is taking a tremendous toll. In the face of attempts to put them on the defensive, the faculty and administrators have denied the charges against their programs with assurances that the allegations are untrue. Now each teacher entering a classroom will have to teach while looking over one shoulder, facing the choice of self-censorship, or risking state intervention for telling the truth. It is the responsibility of people everywhere to strenuously oppose the whole reactionary offensive that is gaining momentum in Arizona.