We Are All Immigrants

Yes, all of us who call ourselves “American” anything

ME
Reality Check
THEM
Legal Check
US
Pride Check
Oh where do I start? Maybe at my birth, where I became an American citizen by the citizenship of my parents, but not by the location, Bali, Indonesia, or every interaction with the Federal Government since then, where I show my passport to prove my citizenship. Maybe we can go back farther, where my father received his American citizenship by serving in the Navy.

Or back all the way to Giuseppe Vota, my great grandfather, who on arrival in New York City, via Ellis Island, the story goes, was grossly overcharged for his first meal and promptly decided that America, or at leas the United States of America was not the frontier he envisioned, and promptly left for the other North America – Mexcio.

Or maybe back to where my mother’s family came over from England, back in the time of the founding of this country, or entrants to her family from the Blackfoot Indians or my father’s family from Mexican Indians.

No matter where you start, somewhere, someone in all our family histories was an immigrant to this continent. Even the American Indians walked or sailed here from somewhere. And with all that history of immigration, I am always amazed at America’s schizophrenic relationship with immigrants today. Schizophrenia that has a whole nation on the march to protest the crazy plans of small-minded fools in Congress.

A march that I am proud to walk in today. I am here on the National Mall, out in support of the National Day of Action for Immigrant Rights. I am here for my father, my family, my nation. I am here as an American, as a first generation and infinite generation American, citizen of North America as much as the United States of America.

I am here to witness for all those who march in solidarity, from the ice cream man to the required drum line to Fredericksburg Presente. I am here to chant USA! USA! USA! and wave my flag high.

While I my political views on immigration policy might differ from yours, we can both agree that this march, this expression of our basic rights, enshrined in the wondrous Constitution, is worthy of respect and celebration.

Join me, the Gringo Cousin, and offer a round of thanks to those who endured the most tankless job today and condolences to those suffering a Metro nightmare. Just be sure to smile in the process. You’re on DC MPD CCTV!


  1. Yes, your family were immigrants. Everyone’s family in the US were immigrants. But how many of us were illegal immigrants? And what should the laws be, to allow for legal immigration – people who want to come to the US to work, and who work legally, paying taxes, sending their children to school, etc.

    There is no doubt that immigration laws and border control in this country need to be changed. It is in a shameful state now. I personally believe, more legal immigrants should be allowed, and much, much, LESS illegal immigration should be allowed. Our border policies now are just foolish.

    You also would be naive to think that everyone skipping over the border, does so to find non-criminal jobs. I have a brother who is a Fort Worth police officer … go for a ride with him some evening. The jobs that are available to illegal workers often do not pay a living wage, and because they are illegal immigrants, there can be little enforcement of labor laws. And because they are not making a living wage, they often take that small step towards crime … even if they didn’t intend to do so in the first place.

    lastly, I don’t buy the argument that some make, that we need to have people paid wages even less than the shitty minimum wage. We’re a wealthy nation, we can pay a little more for produce … especially if it means our immigrants can become citizens.

  2. Your stand illustrates a point that no one seems to want to discuss. It rushes immediately to the word, and thus the subject, of “Immigration”, as if that is “the subject”, when it is not.

    The actual subject, here, is not immigration, but “The Law”. It is The Law where all the problems lie, and from which all of the problems arise, concerning immigration or any other issue.

    The Laws specifically effecting the issue of immigration have not been effectively ENFORCED on the US/Mexican border, thus, they have been historically DISOBEYED. EVERYBODY, on BOTH sides of the ILLEGAL Immigration issue are GUILTY of something. (This format doesn’t allow me to embolden, italicize and color a bright RED the word “ILLEGAL”, above, but consider it to BE SO!)

    The LAW is the subject here, my Friend. Why does the US not have this problem at its northern border with Canada? Well, primarily due to Canadian Border Authorities; they aggressively ENFORCE their border LAWS. To what extent do Mexican Authorities enforce their border laws in regard to their OWN citizenry? To ANY extent? All of the Players have responsibilities here/there, on BOTH side of the border. Mexican and US Border Authorities are mutually culpable where it comes to the ENFORCEMENT of the LAW, and the LACK of Enforcement.

    What good is a Law that is not regularly and thoroughly ENFORCED? THAT is the REAL issue and problem with Illegal Immigration. A society should not create Laws that it does not intend to aggressively Enforce. Had our border Laws been Enforced from the beginning, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion right now.

    Thank You for this opportunity to comment.
    Respectfully,
    M.A.

  3. M.A. – Your “enforcement is the answer” comment is so off, its almost laughable if you didn’t believe in it so strongly. Here’s the best synopsis of why, wrtten by Tiff on DC Metblogs:

    “While I’m sympathetic to the argument about rewarding lawbreaking, it seems to me that there’s lawbreaking like murder, and lawbreaking like doing what you have to do to put food in the children’s mouths. Yes, they’re breaking the law, but it’s a poorly thought-out, poorly executed, and poorly enforced law.

    It’s not like it’s simple for a low-skilled worker to get into the country legally- if you want a work permit here, you have to prove you have some kind of skill the government deems “in demand,” and apparently drywall-hanging and fruit-picking aren’t on that list. And yet we need people to do those jobs, probably even more than we need H1-B programmers.

    That’s the thing no one is addressing- right now, there’s no realiable way for a low-skilled worker to get into the US legally, so all the “well they just should have gone to the office to do the paperwork” is sort of facile and doesn’t address the reality of what it means to do that paperwork.”

  4. wayan, did I denounce your contribution as “almost laughable”? I believe that I showed proper respect, to all parties, in the offering of the perspective that I contributed. One thing I do not offer is catch-phrases/spins like “Enforcement is the answer”. In fact, did I not suggest that the LACK of Enforcement, from the beginning, is the genesis of the PROBLEM with the issue? To create Laws that we have no intention of Enforcing is both hypocritical and a waste of the citizenry’s tax dollar.<period)

    The fact that the Mexican economy cannot support it’s own citizenry—while of great concern—is a second issue; not a SEPERATE issue, but a second issue, nonetheless.

    Tiff’s equation of murderers to people struggling to put food in their children’s mouths is what’s “so off the mark”, here! I do not think of the average, illegal, working, poor immigrant as a “felon”, by any means. For the US government to take such a stance is despicable. And it is even more despicable regarding the fact that the very party proposing it, (Republican, of course,) is the same party that wages the abuses of labor against the illegal immigrant, (in order to keep from having to pay fair wages, unemployment taxes, Medicare/Medicaid taxes and co-contributions to it’s OWN citizens!)to begin with. Calling your average illegal—who is here to work and take care of his/her family—a “felon” amounts to a diversionary tactic to take the heat off the true felons—these bastards who worship only their personal fortunes, off the backs of the unfortunate, (which includes all those victimized by it on BOTH sides of the border!)

    Perhaps, in the BEGINNING,(meaning, when the Laws were first created,) Enforcement WAS the answer—you create a Law, you Enforce it, (duh?)—but not anymore. It is time—well past due, if you ask me—we focused, collectively, on “INDICTMENT”! Not of peaceful illegal immigrants, but of those who abused both them and the US laborforce by playing them off of eachother. They got away with a “divide and conquer” strategy against the working-class on BOTH sides of the border, but it is time for the people to take their power BACK and put it into the CORRECT hands of Lawmakers who TRULY represent THEIR will.

    INDICTMENT is “the answer”, wayan. VOTING the CORRECT people into our govermental posts is “the answer”. The Republican Party (you know, the one that has bankrupted our Treasury and compromised this Country with trillions of $$ of debt?)enjoyed a solid base of Hispanic support in the past couple of Elections. How is that? Maybe Tiff has a blog-piece out there that will enlighten me as to the psychology of THAT phenomena(?)

    The entire working-class in this Country, “illegal” or not, is being enslaved by corperation$, Big Busine$$ and $pecial Intere$t$. How they have managed this, and will continue to manage it, is by dividing us against one-another. Allow your attention to be drawn back to the Divider—and focus on THAT!
    -M.A

  5. You MAY suggest any thing you like, coward…
    (And, {oh, do you like the way I have begun this sentence, with a conjunctive, you dilettante?}you may go, summarily, do to yourself that which ought to be done to persons, to themselves, who lack the capacity for a) original thought and b) the ability to articulate themselves on their own terms. (See Emerson, Gutt Shite.) Or… V’wah!

  6. P.S., “school teacher”, while my prolifically poetic ass is not in the market for a condescending, presumptuous closet-tutor, at the present time, I’m certain the assistance of a competent Editor might come in— how SHALL we SAY…. but, in any case—from time to time. Buck up and leave a card next time.
    M.A.

  7. Yes we were all immigrants, but as far as i know mine followed the rules to get here, granted in the 1700’s there were few, but they did follow them.
    I love mexico, and a lot of other countries but if I want to go there and work I have to follow their rules. You want to come here and work get the papers and then bless you work as much as you want and send the money home, which by the way hurts us even more. This whole idea is insane America is dying and we are the ones who are killing our own country.