amandaxmurder (iheartmytho) wrote,
amandaxmurder
iheartmytho

Immigration

So, I come from a long line of immigrants. A good chunk of my family immigrated to the United States in the early 1900's from Hungary. There's even a copy of relative's signatures from when they went through Ellis Island. Last year, I even did that 23andme genetic screening for shits and giggles. It was fun. But it showed me how much of a "mutt" I am. My genetic background is mostly European with ~20% Eastern European. And also just wee bit of Northern African (0.2%).

With current immigration laws, my family would have not been able to immigrate to the USA in the early 1900's. The story goes, is that my great-great grandmother had a shit fuck ton of kids, as women back then did. I think it was something like 13 kids but only a little over half lived past childhood. There were also plenty of other cousins and such. One set of relatives immigrated to the USA looking for jobs. Eventually, they landed in South Bend, Indiana, and worked at the many factories that were in that city at that time. Slowly, each set of cousins, siblings, etc, started to make the trek from Hungary to South Bend. Based on some old pictures I saw, it was easily 20 - 30 family members that came over. Later on, I found out that many of them hated living in the USA. They wanted to move back to Hungary but couldn't afford to. So they stayed in South Bend.

I heard stories of my great-grandmother being put into kindergarten without know a single word of English. My grandmother supposedly only spoke Hungarian at home. They lived in a part of the city where there were other Hungarians and also a sizeable Polish population. The immigrants spoke their language amongst each other. Ate their stinky foods. Practiced their local customs and religion. Sound familiar?

There was also backlash against these Eastern European immigrants. They took jobs in the factories and were often willing to work for lower wages. Again, sound familiar?

Recently, President Trump has done some nasty things regarding immigration.

First off, there's that stupid wall. It's the worst idea ever and isn't going to prevent that much illegal immigration. Tunnels will be built. Drugs will be flown over the wall with drones. It already happens. A wall isn't going to stop that. There are still miles and miles of coastline that is unprotected. What prevents people from coming over via boat? The wall is going to be an expensive waste of money.

Also, a decent chunk of illegal immigration happens in a quasi-legal way - people overstaying their visas. Maybe, crack down on that instead of building a dumb wall?

However, I don't find much of an issue with immigrants. I get why they upset people. Their customs and food may be weird. However, I say use it as a learning opportunity. I live in one of the most diverse parts of Atlanta. I'm surrounded by immigrants from all over Asia, India, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, and it's amazing. Some of the best ethnic food and groceries stores are a short distance from my house. I have found food to be the gateway to learning and understanding more about other cultures. Now I eat things such as tongue, goat, and even chicken feet. Though, I could pass on eating chicken feet again.

There is the language barrier. It is frustrating, however many immigrants I know want to learn English. Usually they learn enough to get by, not hold full fledged conversations, which is OK. However, their kids, are the ones to become fully immersed in the language and often act as the translators for their parents. I have also come across several Uber / Lyft drivers who are only doing it to practice their English, not because they need the extra money. I think that's rather fantastic. Also, why aren't we Americans using this as an opportunity to learn another language? In other countries, people learn multiple languages, in America, not so much. I studied German in high school and was somewhat fluent, although I'm quite out of practice now. When I studied abroad in Germany, all of the German students easily knew 3 - 4 languages (German, English, French, Russian, or Latin) and were fluent in all of them. We should really be doing the same in the USA. Knowing another language is just an all around good skill to have.

Some like to think that immigrants steal jobs. I get that mindset, especially if immigrants are willing to work for lower wages. But honestly, I blame the employers in that regards. I have heard firsthand stories of some companies holding their immigrant employees hostage with lower pay and poor treatment, by holding their immigration status over them. If the immigrant employee gets fired, they lose their justification to stay in the USA, so said immigrant employee will put up with lower wages and poor treatment just to stay in the USA. Also, some of the immigrants are doing jobs that no one else wants to do. Some of my fellow co-workers are Mexican immigrants and not US citizens. They do hard, factory work. It's straight up manual labor, in a hot, dirty factory, and for not a whole lot of money. I've seen US Citizens only last a few days doing that kind of labor. The Mexicans, bust their ass and do a good job. Blame the employers for taking advantage of people, NOT the immigrants.

The so-called Muslim ban is fucking ridiculous. I understand people's concerns with terrorism. But quite frankly, the odds of being killed by a terrorist is quite slim. I'm more likely to die in a car accident than be killed by a terrorist. And I'd be more concerned about un-hinged white men who have guns. They seem to do a nice chunk of the mass shootings in the USA.

I see how Islam gets a bad rep. Some want to say it's a violent religion. You could say the same about some aspects of Christianity. While some want to say that's only Old Testament stuff and Christianity is more about New Testament teachings of love and caring. Sure, except when Christians cherry pick stuff from the Old Testament regarding gay people. However, there's a sizeable amount of Muslims in the world. And most Muslims actually live in Indonesia / Asia NOT the Middle East. You don't hear of terrorist violence coming from that part of the world. Why villainize an entire religion based on an extremist fringe group? It's like saying every Christian has the same beliefs as the Westboro Baptist Church. Not every Christian is THAT hateful. And many of the nicer Christians that don't preach such hateful vile, are actually just quiet. They just want to do good things and keep to themselves. It's the outspoken assholes that get all of the attention.

I come across Muslims all of the time because of where I live. I've never been fearful of them. And they could give a rat's ass about me. They check me out at the grocery store, and don't give me lectures about the bacon or alcohol I'm buying. For the most, they're probably thinking about how much their feet hurt and are just trying to make a living, like so many other Americans are.

I agree with vetting and background checking immigrants from suspicious countries. That makes perfect sense. But to out right ban people, especially the refugees, is just straight up wrong. It's not the American thing to do. The American thing to do is to help in what ways we can.
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