Friday, December 07, 2007

America, the welcoming

The ongoing national debate over the fate and status of undocumented immigrants is an extremely noisy phenomenon. I mean, if you listen to the talk shows and lots of media interviews, you might get the feeling that the entire nation is ready to remove the inspirational inscription from the base of the Statue of Liberty!

I've decided that the majority of Americans do want to see the borders secured and the law, whatever its requirements, obeyed.

Fair enough.

What is being overlooked, I believe due to the rumble and chaos of most reports on the debate, is that most of us would like to see new, fair policy put in place that would allow immigrants from Mexico and other nations south of our national borders remain in the country permanently.

A recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg Poll reveals this, in fact, is the case with the majority of U. S. citizens.

Sixty per cent (62% of Republican voters and 64% among Democrats) of those polled favor allowing the undocumented who have not committed crimes to stay in the country and become citizens if they pay fines, learn English and meet other requirements.

Forty-six percent believe that undocumented immigrants should be able to receive emergency medical treatment in our hospitals. Forty per cent agreed that immigrant children should be allowed to attend public schools. Almost one of four felt that some sort of limited driver's license might be a good idea.

Listening to a CNN report on the findings of this poll, I noted that most who called in or emailed opinions were vehemently opposed to the majority opinions expressed by those who took part in the poll. Out here in inner city communities where a growing number of immigrants reside, work and raise their families, we see the problem much differently than the angry callers who just want to "pack 'em up and send 'em back" to wherever.

Even the headline in my Dallas Morning News spun the data negative ("Many would deny illegal migrants social services," 14A, Thursday, December 6, 2007) in spite of the fact that most respondents favored more welcoming treatment of the undocumented.

A couple of weeks ago I opened my morning paper to read a front page story of a woman who I've known for years here in Dallas. She attended a Park Cities church for years and that is where I met her. She had organized an entire movement of "concerned citizens," many of them from local churches, to stand against the horrible threat of law-breaking, criminal immigrants and their deplorable children.

Disappointing, indeed, at least as I reflect on how my faith informs my heart regarding my response to immigrant residents of my city and my neighborhood. (Sorry, but the whole "what would Jesus do" question crosses my mind just here, as well as my father's stories about hard working Mexican farm hands drawn from his memory of experiences over 60 years ago.)

The recent poll gave me some new hope. Maybe most loyal Americans look at the issue much differently than my old friend from church.



Anonymous said...

Great post Larry.

I realize this isn't were you went with things (your direction's better), but only 46% of people believe undocumented immigrants should be able to receive emergency medical treatment?! That number hit me like a ton of bricks... The other 64% say let 'em suffer? Die? *sigh*

That's not immigration policy, that's inhumane.

chris said...

If your toilet overflows, don't you turn off the water before you clean up the mess? It seems to me we should CONTROL THE BORDER and then decide what to do.

If this is not done we will continue to have the problem. Haven't we been through this before?

Daniel Gray said...

Yes, I can see the headlines now:

Mexican Immigrants: An Overflowing Toilet of Despair

And fixing the immigration policy is as simple as turning a valve. That's a really weak and offensive analogy.

Daniel Gray said...

chris, a better analogy would be to try and stop air from moving. It can't be done.

Chris said...

I think it's possible to control illegal immigration. The problem is that our leaders do not have the will to do so.

If we don't control the borders, we will cease to be a country before long. Even now, it seems we are taking orders from the Mexican government.

Multiculturalism has ruined some countries in Europe. We don't need to repeat their mistakes. We need to stop chain immigration also. If 10 million illegals are made citizens, they can bring in family members and we have quadrupled the problem.

Daniel Gray said...

Chris, please explain how multiculturalism has ruined European countries. If anything we've seen plenty of ethnic cleansing and hatred directed from people who can't learn to live with people of other cultures and respect them.

And yes... Mexico told Bush to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. They also told him to veto healthcare for children. I bet they even told him that Iran is currently running a nuclear weapon and should be destroyed. The only thing is country is taking orders from is fear.

"Something there is that doesn't love a wall..."

Anonymous said...


Please tell me you're kidding. "Taking orders" from Mexico. When Bush entered office, he made loosening our restrictive immigration policy a high priority. I remember seeing the photo opps with President Fox in 2001. Then came 9/11 and now Mexico can't get the time of day from Washington. It's taken 6 years and 3 election cycles to get back to immigration, and even now we can't reach any consensus. "Taking orders"? What alternate universe are you living in?

Larry James said...

Thanks for the posts.

Anonymous 8:42--no, the survey responses below the 46% were divided among those who didn't think immigrants should receive emergency assistance and those with no opinion. So, it wasn't as bad as you fear.

Chris, bad and biased methaphor--but, I'm not surprised. I bet you've enjoyed and found benefit in the low prices delivered on the backs of hardworking Mexican immigrants. We've taken advantage of this supply of cheap labor for a long time. Now, we want to act as if we haven't. Shame on us.

I join others in finding your comments about taking directions from Mexico laughable, but in line with your normal logic.

Of course, your assessment of Europe is simply racist. I'm thinking of your posts earlier this week about racism. Hmmmm. I'm seeing the pattern.

I think I'll continue to remember what my dad taught me.

bpb said...

I think it's very strange that Mexico is the only country we seem to have a problem with . . . (I'm being sarcastic here). Seriously, folks only get their panties in a wad over folks from Mexico. What about the ones from Cuba? And don't even go to the "oppressed" card.

Chris said...

President Bush has bent over backwards to appease Mexico. He took the side of a convicted rapist/murderer from Mexico although he had no trouble with the death penalty when he was governor. The President did nothing to defend the two guards who were simply doing their jobs protecting the border from two drug smugglers.

In addition,Mexico has an ongoing campaign to destroy the sovereignty of the U.S. in order to create a free movement for Mexicans across our border. Former President Vincente Fox has said that he and President Bush had agreed on a common currency and eventual North American Union. Was he not telling the truth?

As to multiculturalism, Mark Steyn wrote a best seller called "America Alone-the End of the World as we Know it." He says that much of the Western World will not survive this century. In fact, much of it will disappear in this generation. Why? Because Europe has been welcoming immigrants for years to keep its economic machine running. The Muslims are changing Europe. They have youth and will and Europe has age and welfare. The demographics of Europe are changing because the natives are not replacing themselves while the immigrants have a high birthrate. You can see it on the news all the time how the Muslims are demanding this and that and the countries are bowing to their demands. Hey, if they don't they might get their subways blown up or riots in the streets.

Daniel Gray said...

Ah, so this is the multiculturalism that we're afraid of -- that the face of a country will look different from its traditional white facade.

I'm getting a better picture of this racism. Muslims/Arabs are out. Mexicans are out. Lazy, race-card playing blacks are out. So are any non-white people okay, Chris. How about the model minority "Asian" -- are they okay to live with?

If the Western (white) world fades, then so be it. I can think of a hundred reasons why it should, this conversation being one of them.

Chris, it's sad you say, but you've completely played into the "fear" that completely immobilizes this country.

chris said...

Well, sorry Daniel. I don't want my country to turn into a Muslim country, with all that goes with it or to Northern Mexico.

Daniel Gray said...

So the immigration of non-whites brings about the downfall and degradation of society? Because...?

Chris, I'm glad you can say that so confidently and unequivocally, because you have a (very) uncommon paradigm. I seriously doubt any reader or poster on this blog would even remotely agree with you.

Your beliefs are extremely ethnocentric and selfish, and frankly its sad to see that, because there are so many wonderful things that happen when people of different cultures can interact and share a part of who they are.

Chris said...

Then why didn't the comprehensive immigration bill pass?

Daniel Gray said...

So now we're playing a game of numbers? If enough people agree, then it's right? I seem to recall God making a lot of democratic decisions in the Bible.

Chris, please answer me -- how are non-whites destroying our country?

Raquel said...

Rather than joining into the argument (which I am crazy tempted to do), I think that there is a bottom line here. And that is that humanity has no country boundries. I understand that politically this is a separate discussion, but speaking as a Christian I hope that we can all agree with this.
I heard Jesus say a few key things in the Bible and I'm 100% sure that our love/grace was not to stop at any man-made boundry.
To follow what Jesus has called us to do is a frightening and vulnerable position to be in. It requires dependency and trust that Jesus has it covered. It admits that we're ignorant of the bigger picture and that we don't know best. To love our enemies, to give them more than what they ask from us, to turn the other cheek, to forgive everyone 77 times...
I hear, Chris, that you are afraid. But I know with every ounce of my being that Jesus does not call us to be on the offense, rather he calls us to be the waterboy.

Chris said...

It's not a matter of color. I don't care if they are purple, our country has neither the space or the money to take care of millions more people who break our laws and come illegally. We don't want to become like China or India. 1400 illegals a day sneak into this country not to mention the 350,000 a year "anchor babies." I'm also tired of the statement that they pay taxes and don't get social security. They get more benefits than they pay in taxes so they are a net drain on the economy.

Our country has plenty of poor and struggling middle class without adding millions more to it. Last week I worked in a food/clothing outreach place and a large majority of the people who we served did not speak English.

America's working poor deserve a chance of jobs taken by illegals. I'm tired of the worn out statement that they only take jobs Americans will not do.

Then we must maintain our schools for our children, as well as maintain our English language. We must maintain our culture. A country can only be at its best if it is not divided by language and culture.

Our hospitals are crowded and over run by illegals. Emergency rooms have had to close. The hospital in Galveston has recently had to stop treating illegal cancer patients.

I would like to suggest that the people of Mexico throw out the scum they call leaders and build their country where they can stay home and make a life for their families.

The truth is, we have been and are being invaded and I for one am sick and tired of it.

Incidentally, the two pieces of crap that invaded a home in Pasadena recently were both illegal aliens.

Next time I will tell you what I really think.

I am pretty sure that a lot of people agree with me that don't feel comfortable to comment.

Larry James said...

chris, this will be my last comment to you. You never acknowledge the way we have exploited immigrant labor for our own benefit, have you? You and I have gained great economic advantage because immigrant labor has been readily available and very, very cheap. Jail the employers then worry about the border and the immigrants. Then come back here and post about something else--your arguments on this subject are foolish and, because you speak about my friends, unwelcome.

SeriousSummer said...

"I am a Jew/ Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs/ dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with/ the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject/ to the same diseases, heal'd by the same means/ warm'd and cool'd by the same winter and summer/ as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed?/ If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you/ poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?" -Shylock, Merchant of Venice II.i.58.

I hope the only change we have seen in the last 400 years is not whom we choose to see as less than human.

Larry James said...

Thank you, Serious Summer for making the main point the main point!

Terry said...

Thanks for a good post about immigration. I have become increasingly concerned about the tone of the talk shows on this subject. Have you seen "Hotel Rwanda"? I am reminded of how the talk shows stirred up ethnic hatred at the beginning of the movie (which was based on a true story).

belinda said...

“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Socialists and the Trade Unionists, but I was neither, so I did not speak out. Then they came for the Jews, but I was not a Jew so I did not speak out. And when they came for me, there was no one left to speak out for me.”

- Martin Niemoeller