Image by Claudia A. De La Garza at Flickr
Immigration is not the problem that it’s drummed up to be. More than anything else, it’s an attitude problem of how we perceive immigration (documented or undocumented), in particular of those from south of our border.
Comedian Al Madrigal, in a film clip from Jon Stewart’s Daily Show, reveals the ugly side of this perception. In the clip, Madrigal talks with a group of women about their perceptions of Latinos. One woman says, “… immigrants keep populating,” complains of the number of children Hispanic people have, another says, “… all cultures are not equal.” Later on, he interviews Sheriff Richard K. Jones of Butler County, Ohio, who told Madrigal that immigrants receive free computers, healthcare, and get their car and house payments paid for them.
Many Americans have other perceptions: They don’t pay taxes. They only come here because of our lax welfare system. They take jobs and opportunity away from Americans and drive down wages. They don’t want to assimilate, learn English, and become Americans. They bring crime. They believe that weak border enforcement has led to high rates of illegal immigration; that our government is not enforcing immigration laws; that we’re making it easy for terrorist to enter our country that could be prevented by greater restrictions on immigration.
And the fact is until Americans change their perceptions we will continue to have an immigration problem. Those who immigrate to our country want nothing more than any other human being: peace, health, and an opportunity to improve their lives, the lives of their families and children. We do need immigration reform to lessen the burden many immigrants face, as well as to help our country manage immigration. It should not be at the expense of a compassionate concern for the wellbeing of others who are struggling to survive.
Copyright © 2014 Horatio Green