A Day Without Immigrants
Today is “Day Without An Immigrant”. I’m a child of immigrants. My mom and biological father are twice immigrants. They’re Taiwanese by way of escaping Mao’s China and American by way of the United States’ love for “skilled immigrants”. Those who could afford to escape the redistribution of wealth of Mao and settle nearby were the same people who could afford what could entice a industrial giant fighting a cold war into issuing a visa. China had also stopped letting their people emigrate to the US.
This story is common among the skilled class of immigrants so often shielded from the xenophobic and protectionist battle cries for immigration quotas, bans, walls, and other thinly veiled policies that try to redistribute blame of economic failure.
Your Marco Rubios, Ted Cruzes, the Chinese defending Peter Liang, Bobby Jindals, and the endless leaders found in tech. Steve Jobs, arguably the most influential creator in our mobile universe, was the child of a Syrian refugee who would be adopted in California and figuratively by the consumption driven acceptance of immigrants that defines the US — that American dream.
If you hear someone talking about buying into whiteness, this is what we mean. White has transitioned into a concept, an aspiration that’ll never be granted. Many of the rights and protections we enjoy are a direct product of labor from black activists. The work they’ve done is applied to us because those in power recognize we’re not white. Make no mistake, the skilled class of immigrant facing H1 visa reform that outcasts them, and any impending foreign conflicts will other us again.
Certain members of my family and many friends makeup the class of immigrants that bears the brunt of the xenophobia. Their skin flags them as criminal. Their faith defines them as uniquely violent. Contradictions abound and are accepted as long as they frame this class of immigrant as worthless like somehow both being too lazy to contribute but also stealing all our jobs. They’re people and deserving of the same humanity that protects the assimilated faces of the “skilled” immigrant.
If you love me, you should love them. This land is stolen. We have no right to it. The value of individual lives isn’t ours to determine. The belief that our personal failings are the result of people we can’t define as socially productive is reductive at best but I’d call it criminal.
It’s never been more imperative for those underscoring the foundation that holds everyone up to recognize their role in society and economy. We can’t waver on unity and showing up for each other. Recognize the divisive measures.
Here are some immigration orgs I’d rather you support than the ACLU because it helps people directly. The ACLU isn’t horrible, but in this time, we should factor urgency.
International Rescue Committee
Immigrant Defense Project
Immigrant Legal Resource Center