It’s time to talk about immigration

Today I decided to search Technorati for the term, “immigration.”  Since I’m working on a movie and a web project about immigrants, and the students in the ESL class I’m documenting have written some great things about their experience, I thought I’d see how the blogosphere is reacting to the recent protests about the immigration bill being proposed in the U.S. congress.

I guess I should have expected it, but it was upsetting to read so many posts declaring the need to seal our borders in order to “protect” us.  It’s amazing how successful conservatives have been at convincing large swaths of our country that letting “illegal” immigrants in from Mexico compromises the security of our country.  Nevermind that the 9/11 bombers entered the country from Canada, or that the majority of them had valid visas; it’s the Mexican strawberry pickers, cooks, and maids we should be afraid of.

Tonight, at an event at Hunter College (my school), the college president mentioned that only one-third of Hunter students were born in this country.  I attend a college of immigrants, and while some people might find this threatening, I find it enlightening.  The majority of students in the classes I teach are non-white and non-Western; they have come from the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Pakistan, Trinidad, China, Korea, Japan, Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Poland, Russia, and elsewhere.  Our country would be nothing without their presence.  It’s one of the best aspects of going to school in New York. 

And one Einstein who doesn’t understand the online etiquette of using all-caps to COMMUNICATE THE RAISING OF YOUR VOICE wrote this brilliant comment:


A wonderful statement.  “I’m not racist, but immigrants aren’t smart.” 




  1. i know, it’s totally ridiculous the way people try to couch their own prejudices in open-minded terms. actually, you know what? this guy’s right. we should probably do a nationwide test and everybody who scores below average in character, knowledge, and intelligence should be deported. people who litter should be deported too. let’s see, who else? oh, people who spit. and retards and cripples. probably the gays. poor people definitely, theyre really just a drain on the economy.

    what the fuck is wrong with people? how can they actually think that exclusion is ever a) going to work to protect their little ideal world or b) how can they think exclusion is moral? the idea of “illegal immigrants stealing our jobs” is total bullshit. the same way you cant steal a boyfriend, you cant steal a job.

  2. What is wrong with them is that they don’t know history, or interpret it to satisfy their prejudices. At no point in American history did the biased treatment of a group result in positive results. We’re still trying to undue the damage that’s been done by not allowing black people to own their lives, women to vote, or poor people to own land. Yet so many people without social or political capital — working class whites of the south — believe the propaganda that its the brown people coming from the south, not the white people living in Washington, who threathen their livelihoods.

  3. I feel empathy for your comments about immigration, but I consider myself as an example of success in this country, I am from Colombia and I decided to study and educate myself when I came to USA, so I began from the ground, I mean from the GED to my bachelor in Urban Health. Yes, you are right when you said (immigrants aren’t smart) in some part because it‘s not easy to go to school and work at the same time or just deal with kids and a macho husband and go to school. Unfortunately, the immigrant’s jobs aren’t in offices having coffee break and nice conditions, on the contrary they have to work in construction, Chinese stores, groceries, land as farmers or just selling flowers. An individual who does these kinds of jobs have not energy to go to school at nights, they want to rest and sleep. But, wait, I am not telling that all the immigrants cannot go to school because there are exceptions. As well as you are right because some immigrants are lazy, under the land of God exist every kind of people. I consider myself smart and I want that immigrant become smart too.
    Moreover, this is the price to pay of living being immigrants from a strange country with a different language.

  4. Enyk, I sometimes forget that sarcasm doesn’t always translate onto the computer screen. I absolutely agree with every point you make, and some Americans’ inability to understand these points is upsetting to me.

    When I said certain statements were “brilliant” or “wonderful,” I was joking. In fact, I find those statements sad and destructive. I was trying to point out how wrong I think those people are.

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