Lou Dobbs, Bill O'Reilly and other cable television
blowhards have appointed themselves crusaders against illegal
immigration to the United States. If tempted to succumb to their
awful siren song, just think of the Wampanoag Indians.
In 1621 the Wampanoags watched as the Pilgrims
landed at what is now known as Plymouth Rock. You know the rest
of the story. The Indians were killed by warfare and disease.
Treaties were broken and land was stolen. The horrific scenario
played out across the rest of the nation for almost 300 years.
The Iroquois, Seminoles, Choctaws, Lakotas, and Apaches all
got the same treatment.
You reap what you sow. What goes around comes
around. Payback is a bitch. All of those colorful expressions
are apropos when the issue of immigration arises and especially
when Dobbs, O'Reilly, and Congressional Neanderthals foam at
British, the French, the Spanish and the Dutch didn't get green
cards when they showed up on Indian lands. O'Reilly's and Dobbs'
ancestors didn't either. This nation was built by people who
took what they wanted, land that belonged to someone else. The
people who followed them accepted the terms of the original
deal with the devil.
Before complaining about immigrants, compare yourself
to a Wampanoag. Are Mexicans giving you small pox? Are they
attacking your neighborhood and slitting your throat? Have they
claimed your town as a colony for Mexico? Present day Americans
are getting a much better deal from newcomers than the original
Americans ever had.
Speaking of Mexico, a good chunk of the United
States west of the Mississippi originally was part of Mexico.
From 1846 to 1848 the United States government made its awful
vision of Manifest Destiny a reality when it fought a war to
half of Mexico's territory. Present day Texas, California,
Utah, Nevada, parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming
were all Mexican territory.
New immigrants from Mexico to the American west
are just going back to their old neighborhood. What goes around
does quite literally come around. Of course, Mexico was Indian
territory stolen originally by the Spanish. So much bad karma,
so little time.
America cannot have an honest discussion about
immigration without revisiting its sordid past. Indians must
be laughing as the descendants of their oppressors stay in a
snit because newcomers arrive without permission.
Like the Indians, African Americans have a singular
experience and therefore a unique view on immigration. Poor,
uneducated immigrants compete most directly with low wage Americans
for jobs. In the 18th and early 19th centuries, European immigrants
were directly recruited to take jobs that could have easily
been given to black Americans. That history and our perpetually
precarious economic condition create a justifiable wariness.
the answer to black Americans economic oppression is not to
join with the likes of right wing Republicans. These hypocrites
act only to improve the economic well being of the haves and
the have mores. If they truly cared about the American worker
they wouldn't cut taxes for the wealthy, try to end Social Security,
and create a Medicare drug plan that is nothing but a windfall
for pharmaceutical companies.
Instead of whining that some illegal immigrants
use Medicaid, they should advocate for national health insurance.
If Americans had this and other benefits that citizens of the
rest of the world have, resentment against immigrants would
Are immigrant day laborers in Home Depot parking
lots causing the worst problems for American workers? The wholesale
disappearance of high paying blue collar jobs is the real problem.
Images of Mexicans sneaking across the border make for a great
distraction when the plight of union workers at Delphi and GM
ought to be addressed.
Once again the supposedly generous nation brings
out the worst in its citizens because it isn't generous at all.
Americans live a dog eat dog existence, watching as corporate
interests plot to destroy what little is left of the safety
net. Because there is never a serious discussion about the economic
system in this country, phony debates are deliberately created
to keep the public from thinking about the issues that really
cause their problems.
Of course, racism is at the heart of the anti-immigrant
backlash and will be at the heart of any so-called solutions.
Republican Congressperson Dana
Rohrabacher (CA) had an answer to the argument that immigrants
take jobs that Americans won't: