A project of the Center for Community Change

What part of human don’t you understand?

I have to admit, I am new to the blogosphere. I’ve spent the last month or so religiously reading blogs from both sides of the immigration debate. As well as setting up as many Google alerts as possible, bookmarking informative websites and obsessively checking my Google reader for new posts, just to be sure that I catch any news in the debate as soon as it hits the web.

I have researched the framing of messages, the facts on all sides (there are many more than two), the legal implications involved, the various levels of the debate (federal, state, local), the hot-button topics, the mainstream media’s focus (or lack thereof) and have tried to absorb as much as I can, in order to begin to build my own voice amongst the blog community.

Why am I here? What do I believe? I feel like there are millions of Americans out there who are struggling to find their own voices in the immigration debate. With an issue so complex and varied, with so many different arguments, sides and proposed solutions, it is hard to take a stand and feel fully informed, like you can argue your points with confidence and ease.

Ironically, it is the anti-immigrant message that has inspired me to take my stand and start to create my own voice. In the past month, I have seen more hate, more venom and more blind rage directed at immigrants than I ever thought imaginable. Sure, there are valid arguments on both sides, but what separates the pro-immigrant argument from the noise is the humanity at its core.

I have been shocked at the numb brutality of some of my fellow Americans – even in the face of severe and real human rights violations carried out by our government (presumably under the policy umbrella of counterterrorism).

To your all caps “WHAT PART OF ILLEGAL DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND?!”, I counter, what part of human don’t you understand?

In this era of global economies, global networks and an emerging global community, where goods, ideas, capital and commerce flow across borders and cultures freely, how does the crossing of one of those borders automatically render a person less than human. How does it cause them to deserve hate, violence and inadequate access to the fulfillment of basic needs?

We are all humans. We are all trying to make our way, all striving to make things better, for ourselves, for our communities and for the future generations. Do you think that people want to leave their homes, their countries, their families, their customs and their sense of belonging for nothing? There are greater forces at work here – forces that we cannot ignore. Immigration doesn’t happen in a vacuum – we are all interconnected. Illegal is not a noun, it is not an identity and is not a label that should be slapped onto a human being to make them seem less-than-human, so that the scapegoating and the hate speech seem less offensive, somehow less barbaric. We are all humans. Lets act like it.

 

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