Munoz: The American myths of immigration (letter)
Re: “National boundaries are a fact of life” by David Gray
No need to paraphrase. I won’t be vague, Mr. Gray. Those who trumpet Donald’s call for a wall are “xenophobic racists” or ignorant. (See my letter to the editor, July 23, 2015.)
For many people, not all immigrants are created equal and thus NOT equally welcomed. To say Donald is not racist because he married a Slovenian immigrant is like saying racism ended in the U.S. with the election of Obama!
Also, your naive admonition that it is “impolite to ‘jump the line’” shows how little you know about the current immigration process/logjam — sometimes 10 years for a work VISA! And what do you know of a desperation that has killed over two thousand as they crossed the desert for an opportunity to scrub toilets in the U.S.?
Asylum is also a matter of which you speak naïvely. Often in conjunction with the demonizing myths about “illegals,” we hear that “our country has always been a beacon” for those fleeing evil. So consider the following:
1.) The National Origins Act of 1924 established quotas that blatantly discriminated against people from southeast Europe and Asia. Many Jews fleeing the Nazis would be ENTRY DENIED. Tragically, such was the case for the refugee ships, the SS St. Louis and the Quanza.
2.) Immigration became very politicized during the Cold War when refugees fleeing Castro’s Cuba were readily admitted until the 1980 Mariel boat-lift brought darker-skinned Cubans, not as welcomed, to Florida.
3.) More Cold War policy in the 1980s determined who would get political asylum. Nicaraguans would be admitted since it would appear they were fleeing the socialist Sandinista regime, which Reagan’s illegally funded Contras/terrorists were trying to topple. Yet refugees literally running for their lives from the civil wars in Guatemala and El Salvador would be denied asylum. (Very ironic, considering that the death squads in those countries were financed and supported by Reagan.)
4.) More recently, last summer, thousands of children from Central American countries — still healing from Reagan’s destructive and illegal interventions and border crossings — were denied their day in court and their chance for asylum. (See “US Border Patrol Violated Agency Rules in Deporting Thousands of Children” by Amanda Holpuch, Guardian UK.)
Finally, consider this: My father also “waited in line” like your grandfather — 5 years for a VISA to enter from Mexico back in the 1940s. Yet, he understood the desperation of his fellow Mexicans; and he never expressed resentment towards “los ilegales,” on the contrary, only compassion and admiration.
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