Thursday, April 13, 2006

Get fired up.

I was all kinds of fired up yesterday morning. When I was eating my bowl of Special K, I was watching the previous night's O'Reilly Factor on Foxnews (4 AM re-run). He had NYC councilmen Charles Barron (a former Black Panther in Harlem) on, talking about voting reform in NYC and immigration in the US. This is the exerpt from

In New York City there are currently about 1.4 million non-citizens of voting age living within the city limits, if you can believe it. These people are not illegal aliens. They are here on legitimate visas. In 1804, New York City ruled that only U.S. citizens could locally vote, but now there's a move to change that. The Factor asked the man leading the charge, New York City councilman Charles Barron, if he understands why people might be upset about this, "When the immigration complexion was white, when Irish came, when Poland came, when Italians, when Germans came, and Jewish came. They came in at the bottom; they worked their way up. It was easy to become citizens. They took jobs from other people. No one complained." The Factor interjected, "I got your point. Did you ever hear or see a picture, 'Irish need not apply'?" Barron countered, "Come on, did they ever say that they should be a felony for those whites who came in here undocumented? Never." The Factor then asked, "Do you believe in an open border? Do you believe anybody from the Caribbean or from Central America should be able to walk into this country?" Barron reasserted his position, "Whatever they did when the immigration was white, they should continue to do it now. The rules have changed." Barron went on to say that illegal immigrants in the United States shouldn't be made felons, that the southern border
does not need a wall and that this is all a result of bad American policy and NAFTA. The Factor stated, "Mexico wanted NAFTA."

I couldn't believe my ears when I heard this guy race baiting O'Reilly. The entire crux of his arguement, which was weak to begin with, was that when it was white Europeans that wanted in this country, they were welcomed with open arms and that there were no problems for them. Further, people who tried to sneak in didn't face repercussions. Now, anyone who knows the history of Ellis Island knows that was not the case. People got into this country because they immigrated, legally, and intended to stay here. They intended to assimilate into American culture and become Americans, not Italian-Americans, Polish-Americans, or Irish-Americans. As Abraham Lincoln said in 1858, "...a house divided against itself cannot stand..." People coming from Europe became Americans. They learned English (if necessary) and accepted American cultural standards and norms. Lincoln was right. We run into division in every aspect
of American life, and now the hot button is immigration. The biggest problem with these people immigrating is not that we can't support them or that they can't support themselves; it's not overpopulation, if the fact that they do not want to assimilate. They do not want to come here legally, because they want to have the ability to move freely between Mexico and the US; to come and go as they please, pay no taxes in either state, and have no responsibilities to anyone other than their families.

Whites weren't just welcomed into this country. My fiancee's family is totally Irish on one side and totally German on the other. The Irish side faced problem in the early 1900s in Jersey City and Hoboken. Many couldn't get jobs because they were Irish. Her father's family came here from Heidelberg, Germany in 1941. Her grandfather was conscripted into the Nazi army and defected. People in the US didn't see that...they saw a man that spoke German, and he faced his own problems with people discriminating against him; saying he was a Nazi, when in reality, he didn't support their cause, and left Nazi Germany. Her last name is Donnheimer, shortened from Von Donnheimer. Having that last name caused her to deal with stuff herself, from being called a Nazi while she was in Catholic elementary school to having swastikas painted on the sidewalk in front of her house. The paternal side of my family has been here since sometime in 1700s, as far as we can tell. As for my maternal side, they're Polish and Ukranian, and immigrated during the early 1900s. They faced similar problems to Meghan's Irish ancestors, yet don't speak of it often.

Everyone knows that the life of an immigrant isn't easy. We all know of people who immigrated here with nothing but the clothes on their backs and $5 in their pockets, if that. Today, many of them have made themselves into respectable businessmen, whether it be blue or white collar. These people don't want that. They don't want to be made into respectable people. While they want their kids to go to American schools and receive American medical care, both for free, they want to exist themselves on the fringe of society.

Barron's statement that "Whatever they did when the immigration was white, they should continue to do it now. The rules have changed." is completely erroneous and misleading. Yes, they are continuing to do what it was they did when immigration was white. They are screening and processing people when they come into this country. Just as the government keeps tabs on you based on your social security number, they keep tabs on immigrants based on their Visas. The immigration bills being discussed now have nothing to do with what the immigration laws addressed in the early 1900s, as illegal immigration was not a problem then. Even so, when the majority of immigrants were white Europeans, the Chinese, Japanese, and Philipino immigrants came here legally and were processed. They faced the same challenges that the whites faced. No one is saying that the people shouldn't be able to come here at one point or another (when WE have space). What we're saying is that you better come here LEGALLY, and you better be documented.