Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Special Guest Post by Connie Vasquez

This post was submitted to me by a good friend and an inspiration to me. Thank you Connie.

ILLEGAL MIGRATION BY Connie Vasquez – May 19, 2010

Emotions today ran very high for me as I finally understood the whole picture.

I am not supportive of Illegal aliens and I have never hired one, no matter how great the need. Why? Because I think it is exploiting them and if I am not part of the solution, I will never be a part of the problem. I think it is wrong to enter someone’s country illegally. But having said that, I know that circumstances are different for many people. As a Child I lived illegally in Mexico, not my choosing but I was a child and had to do what my parents chose for me. So I know how it is to live with fear that someone in authority could find out. I therefore understand the constant fear that these people live under.

Living in the border, I know the conditions that poor people live in. Having lived and traveled throughout most of Mexico I know conditions are only getting worse. Being a member of the El Paso/ Ciudad Juarez area, I know the danger and the worsening conditions and violence that we are living in the border. So, if I had a family to support and I could not feed them, I feared for their and my life and I could not find a job in my own country, I would possibly also take the treacherous path of an illegal alien.

I know I look like an illegal, I am brown, I speak Spanish, I have a Spanish surname. But I am also a Texan and my family has been in this country even before it was part of the USA. I am an American, I am not Mexican even though in culture I can and have passed for one. My roots are Hispanic, European (Spanish, Portuguese, French, Norwegian), Native American (Apache- no I am not an Aztec nor Tigua) and Mexican.

I do not know what the answer to this problem of illegal immigration is. I don’t like the fact that our desert is being trashed. I don’t like the fact that our resources have to be shared with uninvited guests but I am also a human being and a practicing Catholic and I cannot see a person hurt and bewildered and turn my back on them. I have helped many illegals in my area whose employers did not pay them, I have paid them for them, I have bought them clothes, I have personally driven them back to their homes in Cd. Juarez so that they did not have to take buses or taxis with what they were given. To me it is normal and humane to help them. You do not beat a dying horse!

So how is this law affecting me? I don’t like the rhetoric, people saying that the US or one party hates immigrants when in reality that is a blatant lie. We don’t like illegal migration not legal migration. There is a tremendous difference and using the term for both is a dishonest assessment of the situation.

Are there racists? Of course and anti-immigrant behavior has occurred to all immigrants in the USA but those immigrants wanted to stay here and made this their home. This is part of the History of the US, this situation is not unique and we survived all the other immigration challenges.

The majority of illegal migrants do no have those ties, they want to go back to Mexico once they have achieved their financial dreams. But reality is that many end up not ever going back and end up not participating in the system yet they want all the benefits of being a citizen. This is a double edged sword.

They come to this country to work, not to abuse the system nor to steal anything from anyone. They are mostly looking for work. So if we hire them, why are we surprised as a nation that they are here? We create a market and they fill it. IN every city there is a corner, a church, a parking lot where they gather and the locals come to hire them. Why do the authorities permit this? They could or could not get paid. Who aids them if they are abused? We, as a nation, cannot create this problem and then turn around and criminalize these people because they are not committing a crime, they are only trying to survive, is that a crime?

What is happening in Arizona is not faring well to all Hispanics regardless of whether we are from here as I am or we immigrated as many have. So what is happening? This law is not as offensive all by itself but it is giving power to entities that by following the constitution should not have. Protection of the home land and acceptance into our country is the responsibility of the federal government, not of local entities. It is an illegal law simple and true.

However the anger of Hispanics in Arizona stems from a continuous assault on our culture, our language and us as a people.

In 2002 a law was passed that ended bilingual education in Arizona where 30% of the population in from Mexican descent and bilingual.

In 2004 even though no proof that illegals were voting was ever supplied or proven, the population had to start presenting IDs in order to vote.

In 2006 English Language learners were segregated, how on earth can they learn the language if they are not allowed to mingle with English speakers?

In that same year, Chicano History in School was prohibited. We study European history but the people of the Southwest were denied the right to know who and what they are.

Just recently teachers with accents may not be permitted to teach children in public schools. Since when does an accent dictate or is a gage to knowledge or ability to teach?

So this law is just the last drop in a series of unfair and anti-Mexican targeted laws that discriminate.

I know that it is obvious that the Arizona State government is overwhelmed, Ranchers, environmentalists are having a fit over the state of the lands where these people travail. Schools and hospitals cannot support this extra activity of taking care of non-citizens.

But if we hire them and create this stream of illegal migration, how can we respond to this problem by criminalizing and further endangering their lives. Aren’t we the nation that helps others? So, why do we send millions to the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa and forget that we are part of this continent called America? Do we forget that we took or if it makes us feel better bought in conditions that will always be in infamy half of Mexico’s territory. Do we have a moral obligation to aid them now?

How we treat these illegal immigrants and how we solve this challenge will define this country and is a situation that is in peril to create civilian unrest and this bickering amongst parties and people does not solve the problem, it only adds wood to the fire.

Is the solution to our problem a wall that can be jumped, militarization, more guns and equipment, more border patrol or is it a comprehensive package to help our neighbor be in parity with us, the most powerful nation that has ever existed in the history of the earth.

If we hire them out of the radar, why can’t we find a way to let them enter the country legally for work. The present visa system is not filling the need, regardless of what the Department of Labor and State may say or think.

States cannot take the role that belongs to the Federal Government in order to put a band aid on a bleeding wound.

Let’s think creatively and lets take this challenge as the Americans whose values made us the beacon for the whole world.

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