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:

OUR AMERICAN SOCIETY IS CHANGING DRASTICALLY IN ALL AREAS OF DEMOGRAPHY. I DONT CARE ABOUT THE COLOR, BUT I CARE ABOUT THE DEGREE OF CHARACTER, KNOWLEDGE AND INTELLIGENCE.

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

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