the conversation in my head
by amnesiac
(Everything Else, 1202 views) - 3/9/04
(recorded 3/9/04 @ 2:01:05 PM)
During a class discussion of Latinos in this country, the question of who is helping who came up. This was especially controversial regarding illegal immigrants within the US. These immigrants and their children receive health care and education under certain circumstances. Are undocumented immigrants deserving of such benefits? Are they contributing to the taxes that pay for these services? Or are they draining our resources? Who is helping what economy? Which economy suffers?
The speaker brought up the idea that these immigrants can be considered an investment from their respective countries. Many enter the US as adults and many have been educated. Some have even completed university studies in their homeland.
One girl in our class raised her hand and said something along the lines of, “Are you implying that the people that take out the garbage and mow the lawns are educated?” Are you implying that they are not? It sounded like she believed the majority of immigrants were uneducated. This is entirely possible, just unfounded in her case. She was assuming that the nannies and landscapers she grew up with had no educational background, but I wonder if she ever asked.
It is not uncommon for immigrants to arrive to the US and find that the professional occupations they held in their home countries were not an option in the US. At least, not without starting their higher education once again.
A few summers ago I worked with a woman that had moved her mother, sister, and daughter from Columbia to the states. They were in the process of claiming political asylum because she had been threatened with kidnapping in Columbia. They moved before she had completed an engineering major and she assumed that she would at least be able to keep some of her credits in the US. The university thought differently and she started over at ASU.
Another friend was born in the US, but when she was a year old, she moved to her mother’s home country, El Salvador. Her mother was a teacher in El Salvador and she was well aware of the financial struggles life in the US would bring. They moved back to LA anyway, when my friend was a sophomore in high school. A year later they moved again, and for the first time, my friend was immersed in English. She watched her mom struggle to find employment, cleaning houses on the weekends, applying for jobs during the weekdays. Her mom found work as a cafeteria worker at our high school. It killed my friend to see her mother serving food when she was capable of so much more. Her broken English and foreign education limited her career opportunities.
These are the people that serve your food, watch your kids, and mow your lawn. Do not assume they are ignorant or uneducated simply because they do not speak your language or occupy a cubicle of some corporation. Do not assume that they do not contribute their fair share to our society. Prior to 9-11, undocumented immigrants were allowed to obtain a tax ID number of sorts. With this number, they could file their taxes and prove their commitment to this country. Yes, many of them send money to their home countries every day. Their families live off the money from workers in the US. If the argument is that they are draining our economy, consider what we have done to their economies. US corporations build their factories in many of these countries, only to abandon them for cheaper labor when the opportunity arises. We profit from their resources, too. Maybe we owe them a chance. Maybe we don’t. The point is, educated or not, they are people, just like everyone else.
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Notes:
here here, i love you =) hehe. I tried having a similar discussion the other day yet they were obviously not worth the time. I take time out of my daily routine to talk to the rare mexican when I get a chance. here in PA (moreso Philly and my school) white folks are sparse but hispanics are even harder to come by. However, the few who work at my school (not all janitors are latino but i'd say about half) are cool as shit. It gives me a chance to get to know some of the guys around campus and practice a little spanish and it lets them feel slightly less uncomfortable when students seem to pass by without giving them a second glance.

I'm so amazed by other cultures that I, myself, will never consider any other race or ethnicity beneath me. Other influences have so much to offer and to those that cannot see this, I truly pity you. During the course of my 9 hour shift today (ewww 9 hours) I encountered: Russians, Germans, Italians, many British, Guatemalans, and a few Indians. I must say, you'll see a bigger smile upon my face when helping someone of foreign decent than an obvious American.

I can't believe we are so acute in our sense of this. The awareness of our country is so low, it frightens me. Not only is the population ignorant to society's needs and diversities but our own fucking president is headin the cause. So with that I say pick up a damn book or talk to that guy who stumbles through his English when asking a question. You'll be surprised and even more importantly, enligtened.

   [noprotein (J :: M) 3/9/04 9:31 PM]



True but the whole "undocumented" thing is the scary part. We don't need anymore sniper situations, if we can help it. That situation was particularly avoidable.

   [Savvy (J) 3/10/04 12:25 PM]



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