To be perfectly frank, I’m really ignorant about immigration politics. If anything, I always felt that because my parents were able to work their way into US citizenships, others should use some elbow grease and work their way into the system.
Yet lately, I wonder why we are so tightfisted about our immigration policy. On one hand, I think it’s ridiculous that the people on the “legalize” side are complaining about rhetoric and stating that they are human beings and ought to be treated like human beings (because honestly, that just adds vitriole and pathos to the argument, but no real logical or legal clout).
Yet, on the other hand, why are we so unwieldy? The US is a country of immigrants. That’s what’s unique about us: none of us (except for the people groups marginalized and dumped onto reservations) can claim to be native americans. So… what’s the deal?
My opinion? We’re just lazy and pretty greedy. We don’t want to deal with figuring out new laws or measures. We don’t want to pay minimum wage for laborers who are currently getting paid 50-80 dollars a day. We don’t want to figure out the math, provide linguistic help, or deal with culture clashes. It’s frustrating. Sure, our economy is in the tank, but you can’t blame that on immigrants – they weren’t the ones with the votes. Furthermore, the history of our nation is built on exploiting whatever new crop of immigrants came with that era (ie: the Italians, the Irish, the Chinese). Maybe South/Central Americans and Southeast Asians have already paid their dues and it’s time for them to actually be able to grow into a part of this country. Sure there would be growing pains, and yeah, maybe our federal government can’t handle it… but I bet each state could figure out the nuances of their populations and economies and sort things out.
Why am I so hot and bothered about this? Two reasons.
1) JC2 is a phenomenal student. I love what he’s doing this semester – just doing most of his homework and staying engaged – even purposefully distancing himself from one of his close friends during class so that he won’t get distracted. As a 7th grader, that’s super willpower. JC2 is also a really amazing thinker and has a crazy brain. His homework stinks but he remembers everything and he is just really bright at all his subjects. I am so excited to see where this boy is going to go! (He currently wants to be an architect). He and CE (another student) both qualified for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth summer program. The only two in my class. He can’t even apply for financial aid because he doesn’t have a residency card. That broke my heart, because JC2 was so excited to get to go to a college campus… and honestly, he would be one of my student who would really take advantage of it. He needs to get out of this craphole environment and see the world that we take for granted. It sucks.
2) ER loves history and is just a funny guy. He is extremely low in all his subjects and I don’t get why. Maybe he reads too quickly. Maybe he doesn’t have the willpower to get through til the end of his homework. Maybe he has testing anxiety. Maybe a little bit of everything. He always does all his homework (even though the quality is a bit iffy), and even though he’s older and larger, he has this sweet piping voice. He also asks me the weirdest questions – I call ER my space cadet. Some time this month, he has to go back to Mexico for anywhere up to a week to a month because he has to get his papers. The annoying thing is, his dad is a resident and can apply for his citizenship (which would then allow ER to automatically become a citizen)… but his dad doesn’t want to be bothered to fill out the papers, so ER, his brother, and his mom have to drop everything for some time and go to Mexico to get certain papers and confirmations filled out. That super sucks. Mainly, from an educational standpoint, ER is going to miss out on a lot of crucial material – he’s already one of my strugglers. I’m creating him a packet, but at this point, he sort of needs outside motivation (I mean come on, what middle school boy can self-teach himself while everyone else is chilling?).
I’m not saying grant citizenship to everyone and knock down our gates… I’m just saying that if kids do work hard, or their family members work hard, and are contributing to whatever community they are a part of, why not just give them the stinking citizenship. After all, all this means is they get some papers, they can stay in the US, they can apply for scholarships and better jobs, and contribute to our drainhole of taxes.