Yesterday, I attended a talk at my University called Globalization, Displacement, and Migration by Dr. Aviva Chomsky, Professor of History at Salem State University.
Here are some of my thoughts on that, and immigration.
I attended this event with a high interest as I am very interested in migration, especially how it relates to Native Americans as well as Latin Americans. Doctor Chomsky started off by talking about common myths about immigration (“They are taking our jobs!”, and “we have always welcomed immigrants”) and how they tie in with the 2016 presidential election as well as the previous administration.
She started talking about how politicians talk about immigration, which I found enlightening. They (as in Democrats) take what it called the classic liberal approach, saying that we are a country of immigrants, we like being multicultural and how we have always welcomed immigrants. In fact, Dr. Chomsky explained that we as a country haven’t welcomed immigrants historically (big shocker). This country has undeniably been a country of colonization and conquest.
The main argument was that the history that we all have learned in high school, called the Master Narrative, has been whitewashed. This Master Narrative, Dr. Chomsky explains, imbues everything in society- norms and behavior. We as a country have encouraged specifically white European immigration (and made it easier only for them), not recognized Native Americans, and restricted non-white immigration.
This all ties in with what we have been studying in my Gender and Globalization class because we have been studying immigration and globalization. As a result of globalization, immigration has become a hot topic all over the world, especially here in the United States. Access to visas, allowing refugees into the country and the naturalization process are all important. We see how the current president has his “America First” platform, which discourages immigration, is not actually a new thing going back through American History. Our government has halted and limited immigration in the past. That of course is not necessarily a bad thing, but I feel like the government needs to look at why they are restricting immigration.
Moreover, the U.S. government needs to keep letting in and even increase the number of refugees they let into the United States. The term refugee means someone who is forced to leave their home country due to war, violence or persecution (per the UN). They aren’t terrorists, they literally cannot live in their home country anymore. Compared to other countries like Canada or the UK, the US lets in one of the least amount of refugees. The vetting process for Refugees (similar to immigration) takes too much time also. We need to fix that.
Immigrants in general don’t voluntarily go through the years long process of trying to live in this country in order to create chaos- they actually want to live and work here. 🙂
So basically, both sides of the political spectrum don’t have it right (trying to be as neutral as possible), and we need to keep the history of immigration in mind.
Even “better”, on April 18th, the current president signed an executive order that targets highly skilled immigrants (articles here and here). I don’t understand why it seems right to the current administration to do this. Talent and skill will help the US.
What can we do? Let’s try to be inclusive. Get involved! Stand with immigrants. Realize that there is more than one “type” of human, and that we all seek the same thing- to live, learn, and enjoy life! Education is key.
We also need to rethink how we think of illegal immigration- no human is illegal, it is the act.
We are all the same species.