Deport The “Mexicans”
Immigration within the U.S. has been an ongoing debate that continues to grow. There are faulty solutions such as, building a wall, more deportations, and ending birthright citizenship. “Go back where you came from”, is what I think of when I hear the arguments from some anti-immigrant protestors. These ways of thinking are unjust, racist and ignorant.
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Where I am Coming From
Both my parents are from Colombia and arrived to New York in the late 80’s. Like many immigrants, they left their hometown for better opportunities. During that time, Colombia was dealing with violence coming from both revolutionary groups and the drug cartels.
As a child with immigrant parents, I grew up understanding and witnessing the hard process of becoming a U.S citizen. Many times I was their English and History teacher. Today, I am proud of my parents because they are strong citizens that will not allow others to take advantage of them for being different.
Citizens of Humanity
To see the truth we as individuals need to realize that we are all citizens of humanity and should look at one another with love instead of hate. I understand that this is not a perfect world and people have their own perspectives. Things could be better if we sat down, and spoke to each other to learn and understand our differences.
The only thing that makes us different are our cultural dimensions. If we strip the cultural dimensions we can see the similarities between each other. If we take away the dimension of national origin, we can agree that almost everyone in the U.S. are of immigrant descent. If we strip the dimension of race and color, we are human beings just trying to provide and contribute to society. All in all we are in the same boat and should be working together.
Common Anti-Immigration Arguments
Some of the arguments that are being used to gain supporters, stem from racist beliefs and from xenophobia. Xenophobia is the fear of something that is disliked, foreign, and not understood. In my opinion, there is a fear of losing the “American” identity due to the fusion of cultures.
Here I present to you, counter arguments to the statements that I constantly hear or read from anti-immigration supporters.
1. Immigrants Are Obviously Mexican
While a good number of immigrants are from Mexico, there are many coming from places like the Caribbean, Asia, Central America, Middle East, Africa and Europe. White European immigrants face the same issues that immigrants of color have to deal with. When people talk about immigrants, we tend to only think about our closest neighbors that are south of our border.
In 2012, Mexicans made up 52% of the undocumented population. However, the recent influx of undocumented immigrants from other countries have led to a shift in the undocumented population in the U.S. Many immigrants from China and India are slowly becoming the largest groups coming into the U.S.
Let’s not forget, Native Americans are being called illegal. They’re being treated as if they were immigrants. They are forgotten and should be included into the conversation.
2. The Dominance of the English Language Is Fading
Many immigrants, especially Latino immigrants believe that in order to be successful in the U.S., learning English is important. Many non-English speakers attend night classes, where they learn and practice to read and write. Due to the diverse community we live in, learning another language is helpful when there are other cultures present. However, this doesn’t mean that the English language is losing it’s place.
3. Undocumented Immigrants Are Taking Up Federal Funding
Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for many social services because of their status. These social services have particular rules and requirements that filter out applicants that are not citizens. Some requirements may include having a social security card, proof of residence, or being a resident for over 5 years. Some social services that undocumented immigrants can’t partake in are welfare, food stamps, and Medicaid.
4. Undocumented Immigrants Don’t Pay Taxes
Undocumented immigrants are technically U.S. taxpayers. $11.84 billion in taxes have been filed and paid by undocumented immigrants in 2012. This includes both federal and state taxes. Other taxes that undocumented immigrants pay for are sales tax on goods such as gasoline, alcohol, and tobacco.
5. Immigrants Are Taking Our Jobs
Although the South Park episode is probably enough to argue that immigrants are not taking U.S jobs, let me give you more information. Take a look around your community and within successful businesses. Focus on where immigrants are filling in these jobs. Now close your eyes, and lets create a world where there are no immigrants. Now, fill in these roles with home grown Americans. Will services and businesses be the same? Will those roles be filled? I will let you decide that for yourself.
There is a high population of immigrant workers that are willing to work low paying jobs, which then expands businesses. This creates the need for middle management jobs, and other jobs that help maintain and facilitate a growing business.
However immigrants are not just taking low paying jobs. Immigrants are becoming entrepreneurs by opening businesses and creating more employment opportunities. The different set of skills and ideas brings innovation, and creates new and unique solutions.
6. Deportations Would Reduce Incarceration Rates
It has been said by politicians and anti-immigrant supporters that Mexicans are to blame for the crimes such as rape, drug trafficking, and gang violence. Ilya Somin from the Washington Post states, “both legal and illegal — have far lower crime rates than native-born Americans do”. For every person that is deported, the government spends about $12,500. Instead of more deportations, the solution should be focused on investing that money towards helping immigrants become citizens.
This argument is blaming a percentage of crimes in America on an entire group of people. As immigrants come to the U.S. with a plan and a goal in mind, avoiding criminal activity and confrontation with the authorities is the number one priority. Their sacrifice to come here and make a living is more valuable and not worth risking.
7. Undocumented Immigrants Don’t Want To Become Citizens
Becoming a U.S. citizen is a difficult task that can take a long time. Immigrants are unable to apply for citizenship until they have been in the U.S. for at least five years (with lawful residency), cleared background checks, paid taxes consistently, and have passed the U.S. citizenship test. During a citizenship test the applicant must demonstrate the ability to read and speak English. The test taker must also understand and know the important aspects of U.S. history. All this doesn’t come free, applying for citizenship comes with a fee of $680.
Immigrants want to become citizens. Without citizenship, immigrants are left in a state of limbo and the inability to see a clear path towards their goals. With citizenship, immigrants now have a huge weight off their shoulders and achieving their goals will be much easier.